Letters to the Editor: The Catholic women who don’t let male leaders hold them back

A woman leaning on a cane near mounted religious art.
Rosa Manriquez, a 70-year-old Catholic and member of the Immaculate Heart Community, said she would address Pope Francis as “brother.”
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Rosa Manriquez, who was quoted extensively in your article on Pope Francis’ 10 years in power, is a member of the Immaculate Heart Community, of which I am also a member. Bishop Jane Via, also quoted, is a former member. They both exemplify the path that women have taken when denied participation in the call to Holy Orders.

Women being denied their rights is a global issue, not just a Catholic one. Witness the women who have taken to the streets to assert their rights in the face of male oppression and domination in the political arena.

Let us hope the voices of women will be heard in the Catholic Church and in the larger global community so that, some day, justice will prevail and women will no longer be subject to the power and authority of men standing in their way.


Creative women will look for alternative ways to exercise their calls to work for a more just and peaceful world — with or without men alongside them.

Lenore Navarro Dowling, Los Angeles


To the editor: Nothing exemplifies Francis’ papacy more than his answer to a question about gay men in the clergy: “Who am I to judge?”

It was a very down-to-Earth, meek answer. However, according to Lumen Gentium, a document of the Second Vatican Council, which Pope Francis advocates, “The Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.”

As such, he is empowered and expected to use his authority to judge, one way or another, and lead his flock with clear guidance.


It’s no wonder that the church, both the hierarchy and the laity, has now been hopelessly and needlessly confused and divided.

Kee Kim, La Habra


To the editor: The noble women in the Oscar-nominated film “Women Talking,” having decided staying in a community that disdained and dehumanized them would signal complicity, walk out. One wise elder counsels them to keep looking at the horizon when disagreements erupt.

I walk on with Rosa Manriquez and Bishop Jane Via, hoping for an inclusive, compassionate Catholic Church just beyond the horizon.

May Pope Francis look around, see us and understand that women lead with wisdom. We are equal partners in matters divine and human.

Nan Cano, Westlake Village