Pope Francis: women have special role in passing on faith

Pope Francis has emphasised the “fundamental” importance of women in the Catholic Church, saying they have a privileged role because of their ability to pass on the faith through love.

He said women have always had a special mission in the Church as “first witnesses” of Christ’s Resurrection, and because they pass the faith on to their children and grandchildren.

“Faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love,” the Pope told an estimated 50,000 pilgrims at his weekly audience in St Peter’s Square.

Pope Francis said the fact that women were recorded as witnesses to the Resurrection is an argument in favour of the historical truth of the event.

“If it had been an invention, in the context of that time it would not have been linked to the testimony of women”, since the Jewish law of period did not consider women or children as “reliable, credible witnesses”.

“This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria,” the Pope said. “The first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people, and the first witnesses of the resurrection are women.”

Pope Francis said Jesus’ male apostles and disciples found it hard to believe in the risen Christ.

By contrast, the women “are driven by love and they know to accept this proclamation [of the resurrection] with faith”, he said. “They believe and immediately transmit it; they do not keep it for themselves.”

Marinella Perroni, a leading member of the Association of Italian Women Theologians, said the Pope’s words were “very encouraging”.

“Pope Francis is taking up, with a stronger emphasis, the teaching of previous popes about the role of women in the foundation of faith and the resurrection of Jesus,” she told Reuters.

“The fact that the Pope acknowledges that the progressive removal of female figures from the tradition of the Resurrection…is due to human judgments, distant from those of God…introduces a decidedly new element compared to the previous papacy.”


Catholic News Service


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Image: CBC

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