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What do Donna and Mary think of the new pope?

Every Catholic, likely, places upon a new pope all their hopes for a better, different church.

My dream has long been for a Vatican III to which the poor and women and others not in the power structure of the church would be invited.

With the announcement of  Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina becoming Pope Francis today, I thought of these hopes. And I thought of two progressive Catholic women I knew and respected.

Donna Hanson, the head of Spokane's Catholic Charities who died in 2005, asked Pope John Paul II in a 1987 public gathering to be more inclusive of women. See New York Times story here.

And I thought of Mary Garvin, a Holy Names sister and Gonzaga University theology professor, who introduced us in class one day to the women who attended Vatican II. There were 23 women asked to observe the proceedings. Just 23. The priests, bishops and cardinals attending didn't want to rub shoulders with the women at the coffee bar, so they built them their own.

Mary died in January. Both Donna and Mary urged Catholic women to always be assertive, to talk truth to power and to stay in this male-dominated church and change it from the inside out.

I wonder what they think of Pope Francis. I'm thinking of them today. 

(S-R file photo of Donna Hanson)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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