|A group of breast-baring feminist radicals politely listens to the Pope's address.|
Pope Francis actually spoke to the nuns today -- and face to face! Amazingly, it seems that this is a bit of rarity.
The meeting, a private audience held in the Vatican's Pope Paul VI Hall before Francis' weekly Wednesday audience in St. Peter's Square, was between the pope and approximately 800 members of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG), a membership organization of some 1,800 global leaders of congregations of women religious.Nice words were spoken by the pontiff:
"What would the church be without you?"
Without you, the church "would be missing maternity, affection, tenderness"At the end of the audience, "The pope concluded his talk with an apostolic blessing, telling the sister leaders he was extending it 'to you and to all in your institutes.'"
Nice words, and a blessing on their institutes!
Also, some strictness:
"It is an absurd dichotomy to think of living with Jesus but without the church, of following Jesus outside of the church, of loving Jesus without loving the church."
The pope exhorted the sisters to accept the three traditional vows of consecrated life -- obedience, poverty and chastity. He called them to look for poverty that "is learned with the humble, the poor, the sick and all those who are at the existential margins of life....Theoretical poverty doesn't do anything. Poverty is learned by touching the flesh of the poor Christ in the humble, the poor, the sick, and in children."This is a little like lecturing moms that they should love, feed and clothe their kids. Technically correct, but it skirts being patronizing because sisters already do this work better than just about anyone around.
Still, I couldn't help but sense that this audience was a way to get the relationship between the Vatican and the sisters back on track. They said hat they had to say (we are not the hussies that we have been accused of being) and he said what he had to say (sisters shoud be faithful to Chuch teaching and to the poor).
Now that everyone is on the same side of the table again, let's get moving again!