Women across the world rejoiced this week when they learned, courtesy of Pope Francis, that God and their fellow worshipers would not heap shame upon churchgoing mothers if they discreetly exposed a breast to the open air for the purpose of nourishing an infant.
Media coverage of the Pope’s astonishing announcement, made on Sunday during a mass baptismal ceremony in the Sistine Chapel, emphasized the imposing nature of the setting, where Michelangelo’s super-serious frescoes of God and man in all their best half-clothed Italian Renaissance contortions should make any good lady want to button up a little tighter.
“If they are hungry, mothers, feed them, without thinking twice,” the shockingly progressive pontiff declared of any baby who might whimper in hunger during the sermon.
Particularly in the United States of America, women are used to powerful, elderly male figureheads (both political and religious) using their status to make demeaning and unhealthful demands of the female body. But women this week were shocked to hear a positive, nay, encouraging word about a natural function of their feminine forms.
“If culturally and politically dominant men are going to dictate everything about our reproductive health in the name of religious principle, I guess we should be glad that on one day of the year, at least, we get a positive message about how we choose to use our bodies,” American women said when they had gotten over their initial shock at a Christian leader advocating something that benefits the comfort, health and self-determination of women and families.
Women all over the globe who worried that folding back that nursing patch between prayers would offend Jesus can now rest easy. Just as elderly men know best about what NOT to do with our bodies, we can count on them to tell us what’s right. So eat up, babies. What a relief!