Pope calls for recognition of women and vows to invigorate Catholic Church 71



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Pope Francis has spent much of this week on American shores, inspiring the leaders of the modern world to address big issues like climate change but last night he stepped beyond his normal messages calling for women to play a greater role in the reinvigoration he has planned for the Catholic Church.  An inspiring religious leader, the pontiff has stepped further into the public eye than any other Catholic leader, embracing his opportunity to bring the Church into the new millenium.

The pope urged both the clergy and the lay people present to step forward and lead a more active and dynamic version of their faith.

“This will require creativity in adapting to changed situations, carrying forward the legacy of the past not primarily by maintaining our structures and institutions, which have served us well, but above all by … communicating the joy of the Gospel, daily and in every season of our life.”

He urged the people of the church to be adaptable. He called out women and younger people as significant in the future of the Catholic Church and indicated his belief that change needed to occur to reinvigorate people’s faith.

Reinvigorating people’s faith, he said, was “one of the great challenges facing the church in this generation”.

“This will require creativity in adapting to changed situations, carrying forward the legacy of the past not primarily by maintaining our structures and institutions, which have served us well, but above all by being open to the possibilities which the spirit opens up to us.”


The Pope is clearly concerned at the consistent decline of Catholicism in the US, and this tour is about rebuilding faith in the church.  Just like in Australia, the US Church is mired by sex abuse scandals, changing demographics and an increasing irrelevance of faith in modern society.  But his tour is having the desired effect of raising the church’s visibility and seeking angles for its rebirth.

According to The Guardian, about one in five Americans identifies as Catholic, a sharp drop from two decades ago, when it was one in four. They reported today an interesting statistic.

“It is estimated that if ex-Catholics formed their own church it would be the US’s second largest, lagging behind only the Catholic church itself. This is part of a long-term secular trend which appears likely to continue, Francis rapture notwithstanding.”

The Pope tried to inspire people to act as individuals, speaking to the 1600 strong audience in a Philadelphia Cathedral of American Saint, St Katharine Drexel, a young Philadelphian heiress who met with Pope Leo XIII on a trip to Europe in 1887.

Apparently, more than 128 years ago, she asked the pope about the needs of church missions around the world.  Francis told the story to the crowd, “the Pope – he was a very wise Pope – asked her pointedly, ‘What about you? What are you going to do?’”

Francis argued that the questions were still relevant 128 years later, saying they “were addressed to a young person, a young woman with high ideals, and they changed her life”.

He then scolded his peers, compelling them to pay more attention to the needs and interests of younger generations and women.   “Do we challenge them? Do we make space for them and help them to do their part? To find ways of sharing their enthusiasm and gifts with our communities, above all in works of mercy and concern for others?”

Does Pope Francis’s speech ring true with you?  Take our poll and share your thoughts below.

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Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. Oh please, find it a bit hypocritical that the leader of a religion that has for centuries excluded woman is going to change, and really not sure how you can speak out on poverty when you live in one of the richest cities, the Vatican with own laws and wealth beyond comprehension.

  2. The Catholic Church has lost the respect of many World Wide because of Pedophile Priests. This is another attempt to get that repect back and it won’t work. People are well over this Church and it’s Pedophile activity that been going on probably since the Church began

    3 REPLY
    • Correct David James. The role of these tours is one big public relations exercise to offset the stench and bad image of the Catholic Church. When the Pope starts handing over files and Paedophile priests to police, starts ordaining women as priests, removes celibacy constraints on priests and starts using the massive wealth of the church to eliminate poverty I may begin to have more respect for this organisation.

    • Still trying to brain wash people, Alan & David you are so right, people can’t have the respect for the Catholic Church until they see some action. How can they preach about family living when they never live it themselves ?

  3. The Catholic Church is sitting on sufficient wealth to feed all the starving in the world, likewise the Church of England. Then there are all the other fat cat religions sitting on enormous wealth. I can’t get how some man in a dress, can tell millions of people how to live. He can talk, but talk is cheap. Let them worship him and fall at his feet. He’s still just a man. When he came out and said he had given priests permission to forgive women for having abortions, all I could think was, who the f…k is this guy? No time for organized religion! It’s all about control and power.

    4 REPLY
  4. We have been giving the Catholic Church money for the poor for year’s, all our money has been keeping these pedophiles a live and driving brand new cars and lots of holidays.
    What a sick bunch.
    The poor are still poor, makes me sick to the core.

    2 REPLY
    • Monsignor we had here in our small country town spent all his time in the Tab we filled the plate with money every Sunday for him to bet with !

    • That would be right Karen, if they think there is a place in Heaven for them I’ve got news and it all bad, Saint Peter will lock them all out.

  5. Can’t understand why climate change is the biggest issue Pope seems to have. I would have thought Catholic Church has much bigger problems within its organisation.

    6 REPLY
    • If we don’t do something, there won’t be anything left for any of us, maybe you need to educate yourself on just what climate change is doing to this planet. Such an ignorant comment, thank god he has the guts to address this issue.

    • Pretty sure the politicians have been working on climate issues for years. Church should not get involved in government work. But seems they are going hand in hand on everything.

    • Talk about jump to conclusions!! I made no comment for or against climate change. My point is Pope has big issues in the Church he leads. Maybe need to re access the ignorant comment Lee Horrocks

    • I got your point in the first place, my opinion on your comment is still the same, it’s a matter of priorities, climate change comes first.

  6. I think this pope will do a lot a good for the church , he seems to be the pope for the people and yes there is so much wrong with the church at present there’s plenty for him to correct. Hope he continues to lead in a positive way!

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