Pope Again Champions Women

New speech again speaks of their role as witnesses to resurrection

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 3, 2013 10:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – Just days after (figuratively) stepping on some toes by (literally) washing some women's feet, Pope Francis has done the sisterhood another solid: In his weekly address at St. Peter's Square, he once again recognized women as the first witnesses of Christ's resurrection and emphasized their "special role in opening doors to the Lord," Reuters reports. He explained that under Jewish Law of the time, only men were considered credible witnesses; as such, only men were recalled as witnesses in the New Testament.

But the Gospels set the record straight, he explained: "The evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people, the first witnesses of the resurrection are women." A theologian calls his words "very encouraging. ... 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."

Pope Francis arrives for his weekly general audience in St. Peter square at the Vatican Wednesday, April 3, 2013.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
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