Will pope allow new opportunities for women?

April 22, 2013 

It could bode well that Pope Francis is a Jesuit (Society of Jesus). I am a Presbyterian who has had positive experiences with Jesuit priests over many years and so I am pleased that the new pope is a Jesuit.

In the early 1960s I chaired the teachers union banquet and secured the Rev. Charles Dismas Clark (The Hoodlum Priest), a Jesuit, as our banquet speaker. I learned that he had opened a rehab center for ex-convicts at the old, abandoned St. Louis Jefferson Elementary School, my girlhood school in downtown St. Louis. I admired his work and helped him raise funds for his work.

It is my opinion that Jesuits are the intellectual arm of the Catholic Church. They staff many of the major American universities. As a doctoral student and as a learning specialist at Jesuit-run St. Louis University, my work was enhanced by the Jesuit university president and professors. These men are smart and have courage. I am proud of my association with them as colleagues in our chosen field of education.

I wish Pope Francis well in his ministry, and hope that he will temper his conservatism to lead the church to grant equality in leadership to nuns and other Catholic females. As a Presbyterian, I am free to use my talent and intelligence to serve God in whatever leadership positions I may wish. I believe that Jesuits ought to lead their church to grant that kind of equality to Catholic females.

Katie H. Wright

East St. Louis

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