Mercoledì, 26 Settembre 2018
VATICAN CITY

Pope Francis emphasises women's role in church

English
© ANSA

(By Paul Virgo)
Vatican City, April 3 - Pope Francis stressed the
role women play in the Catholic Church in his general audience
on Wednesday.
Francis, who presided over his first Easter Sunday Mass as
pontiff last weekend after being elected Benedict XVI's
successor on March 13, said it was significant that Mary
Magdelene discovered Jesus's empty tomb.
According to the bible, Jesus also made His first
appearance after His resurrection before Mary Magdelene, who the
gospels according to Mark and Luke say was accompanied to the
tomb by another Mary, the mother of James.
"The first witnesses of the Resurrection are women,"
Francis told around 30,000 faithful in St Peter's Square.
"This is beautiful, and this is the mission of women, of
mothers and women, to give witness to their children and
grandchildren that Christ is Risen".
The comments come after Francis broke tradition by washing
the feet of two young women, one of whom was a Muslim, while
performing an Easter ritual at a Rome juvenile detention centre
on Thursday.
In the ritual, popes usually wash the feet of 12 priests,
representing the apostles at the Last Supper, and there were
concerns from conservative Catholics that Francis's gesture
could pave the way for an opening to the ordination of women
priests.
This has been denied and Francis has ruled out admitting
women to the priesthood in a new book.
In On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family and
the Church in the 21st Century, which comes out in May, he says
on female priests that a "woman has another role, which is
reflected in the figure of Mary".
Nevertheless, Francis seems intent on rebutting criticism
that the Catholic Church relegates women to secondary roles and
status.
On Wednesday he said women's "special role" was reflected
by the women who discovered that Jesus was risen "immediately"
accepting the news, unlike some of the apostles.
"Mothers go forward with this witness. What matters to God
is our heart, if we are open to Him, if we are like trusting
children," said Francis, who has been praised for his humble,
off-the-cuff style and the importance he is giving to the
Church's role in protecting the poorest and weakest.
"But this also leads us to reflect on how in the Church and
in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special
role in opening doors to the Lord, in following Him and
communicating His face, because the eyes of faith always need
the simple and profound look of love.
"The Apostles and disciples find it harder to believe in
the Risen Christ, not the women however.
"Peter runs to the tomb, but stops before the empty tomb;
Thomas has to touch the wounds of the body of Jesus with his
hands".
Francis also urged young people to face today's tough times
by embracing the "certainty" that Jesus is alive.
"I saw that there are many young people in the square," the
Argentine pontiff said.
"Young boys and girls, to you I say bring forth this
certainty the Lord is alive and walks beside us on our life's
journey.
"Bring forth this hope, be anchored in this hope, the hope
that comes from heaven.
"Be anchored and bring forth the hope. You witnesses of
Christ bring forth hope to this world that is aged by wars and
sin. Go forward young people".

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