In an interesting speech, Pope Francis urged 800 nuns representing international women’s congregations to be mothers and not spinsters.
1 : a woman whose occupation is to spin2: a: archaic: an unmarried woman of gentle family b: an unmarried woman and especially one past the common age for marrying3 : 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.