As this article from the National Catholic Reporter shows, the quality of comments and jokes being made about women in the Church over the past few months by the Pope and a Cardinal are representative of the big tin ear some leadership in the Church seems to have regarding women in the Church.

An excerpt.

Two years ago, when Cardinal Gerhard Müller criticized the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for promoting radical feminist themes, the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith offered a stark reminder that feminism has no place in the Roman Catholic church.

In his most recent interview in L’Osservatore Romano (the Vatican’s “semi-official” newspaper), Müller further indicates that any suggestion of misogyny on the part of the hierarchy is a claim best answered with a punch line.

Sadly, it’s a comedic lesson Müller likely learned from his boss, the pope.

Back in July, when journalist Franca Giansoldati asked Pope Francis whether the pontiff’s tropes about the “church as a woman” and the “the church as a feminine word” were misogynistic, he responded with a joke about women as Adam’s rib. The pope then went on a roll of sorts, making another zinger about priests coming under the authority of female housekeepers.

Now Müller is taking his turn as the court jester. In his interview Monday (featured, by the way, in a special pullout section on “Women Church” in L’Osservatore Romano), when asked about the doctrinal congregation’s ongoing “reform” of LCWR, the cardinal insists, “We are not misogynists.”

“We don’t want to gobble up a woman a day,” he then quips. (“Non vogliamo mangiare una donna al giorno,” for those hoping something was lost in translation.)

Is this the progress on women in the church that we’ve been hoping for? With both Francis and his doctrinal watchdog yukking it up about misogyny, it becomes harder to imagine that any substantive treatment of issues related to women is on the horizon.

Sure, the pope has mentioned in interviews the need for a deeper theology of women or a more incisive role for women in the church. But 18 months into his pontificate, these remain little more than sound bites. (Even John L. Allen Jr., earlier this week, named the role of women in the church as the No. 1 question on which the pope should be pressed.)

Retrieved September 4, 2014 from