Pope tells nuns not to be spinsters

Pope Francis I appears on the central balconyIn an interesting speech, Pope Francis urged 800 nuns representing  international women’s congregations  to be mothers and not spinsters.

To review, according to Merriam-Webster, a spinster is
1 : a woman whose occupation is to spin
2: a: archaic: an unmarried woman of gentle family b: an unmarried woman and especially one past the common age for marrying
3 : a woman who seems unlikely to marry

I don’t think The Pope is telling nuns not to spin. Nor is he telling nuns to get married of have children. He wants them to be chaste mothers. And if you think that’s impossible, just remember Maria, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ, provides us with the precedent. But in case they can’t achieve immaculate conception, The Pope is fine with a spiritual, if not physical motherhood, or as he describes it,

“a fertile chastity, a chastity which produces spiritual children within the Church…. The ordained woman is a mother, she must be a mother and not a spinster! You are mothers, like the figures of Mary and the Mother Church…. It is not possible to understand Mary without maternity, nor the Church without motherhood.”

Another important thing for nuns is obedience, which Francis said means “to listen to the will of God…. Remember that the relationship between authority and obedience is located within the context of the mystery of the Church.” And, of course, women can’t do the work of Jesus without belonging to the institution of the Church: “It’s an absurd dichotomy to think one can live with Jesus, but without the church, to follow Jesus outside the church, to love Jesus and not the church.”

Among the nuns present were members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a group representing about 80 percent of nuns in the United States. The LCWR was reprimanded last year by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith under Pope Benedict, for their “radical feminism” and for not being sufficiently anti-choice. In April of this year, Pope Francis supported the mandate against the nuns.

So, yes to chaste motherhood, obedience, organized religion and no to equal rights for women. Noted.


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  1. Posted May 8, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Hawwwww!!!! Chaste Motherhood!
    Someone hasn’t received “the talk” at his age

  2. Posted May 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Just an aside – ‘Immaculate Conception’ in context of the Roman Catholic Church is the concept that Mary was conceived without sin. That part of the story, although a prerequisite to birthing Jesus, isn’t about being a virgin mother.

    • Posted May 9, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Not quite. Immaculate Conception is not, primarily, the concept that Mary was conceived without sin, although that tradition does exist within the Church. It primarily refers to the fact that Mary conceived Jesus without “sin” (or more accurately, without the input of a human male). The tradition that Mary was, likewise, conceived “immaculately” came along much later when people started tying themselves in knots over the concept of Original Sin as some sort of bizarre STI, for which you can blame Augustine and his over-zealous response to Palagius.

      • Posted May 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Me thinks you need to look “Immaculate Conception” up in the dictionary.

  3. Posted May 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Who could possibly have predicted this surprising turn of events!

  4. Posted May 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Don’t see why anyone would be surprised. Until these nuns and other women start to leave the church en mass – e.g., to start or join another church, I can’t see why it would ever change.

    Remember that to most of these fanatics it isn’t something that’s up to them. It comes down from God and you can’t question God…

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