Recently I have come across several articles that have left me perplex.

The first one, entitled The Feminist Case Against Abortion, was in America Magazine. As is well known, no feminist is for abortion. I have yet to meet a feminist who is pro-life, however. A feminist is pro-choice; s/he believes that a woman has the right to choose whether to have a baby or not. No woman ever takes this decision lightly and no woman ever likes to take it.

I was intrigued by this article, wondering why a woman who is pro-life would want to be seen as a feminist as well, since a ‘pro-life feminist’ today is an oxymoron.

I understand people who are pro-life. It is their right, as long as they do not try to impose their opinion on others. While both pro-choice and feminist, I am not for abortion.

I will not engage in a discussion on this topic today. I have done it many times in the past, and never seemed to go anywhere. Pro-life and pro-choice people don’t see eye to eye, and I have learned to live with that.

My second surprise has been the recent declaration of Pope Francis against gay marriage and contraception. This was not only a surprise, but a great disappointment. I feel for my brothers and sisters who long for their love to be recognized. The topic of contraception, however, riled me. To be against abortion, as I said above, I understand, but to be against contraception is an open invitation to the possibility of an abortion at a later time. This does not make sense to me.

Shortly after Pope Francis’ support of Humanae Vitae (and contraception), he came out demanding greater attention to women’s voice (see article here). “Women have a lot of things to say to us in today’s society,” said Francis in Manila.

Really, most Holy Father? To my women’s ears, your declaration sounds like a bad joke.

If truly we have something to say, why hasn’t it been heard that women and men need to use contraception when they have sex if they are not ready to have a child at this point in their life?

Those who know me have noticed my enthusiasm for Pope Francis. Other feminists have warned me that he will not do anything for women. Talk is cheap…

You see, if one is for the protection of the poor, one has to protect women, who are always the poorest of the poor. These women will be raising the children that you, Most Holy Father, want them to bear. If, unfortunately, these mothers do not have the means to raise their child, they may have to abandon her, just like the little street girl you met in Manila. You heard what happened to her and you cried…

Am I the only one to notice the disconnect between one speech and the other, between a stand against contraception and its consequences?

Pope Francis is already a hero to many of us for the Herculean task of cleaning the Vatican hierarchy, for choosing a Franciscan attire over silk and laces, for advocating the protection and the rights of the poor. For all these reasons, he is my hero too.

A last surprise. Jesus really loved women and came to their rescue again and again. Pope Francis acts prophetically in most areas of our faith. But when it comes to women, he is gender-blind.

As for my gay brothers and sisters… Agh…

Photo: Pope Francis with street children in Manila.

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