“Women are the witnesses of the Resurrection and they have a paramount role,” Pope Francis said on Wednesday in his address to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.
The evangelists did no more than write down what the women saw on the day of Christ’s resurrection, the pope - former cardinal Jorge Bergoglio - told the cheering crowd. He also said that women play a special role in the Church: they “open the doors to the Lord,” the Italian daily La Repubblica reported.
It was an important statement by the newly elected head of the Catholic Church – a tribute to the fair sex and a recognition of the key role women can and should play in the religious sphere of life.
A recognition of women’s importance was, however, distinctly lacking in Rome last week when President Giorgio Napolitano failed to name a single woman to join two working groups, dubbed the “wise men”, he set up to try to find a way out of Italy’s political gridlock.
Both public opinion and the Italian media rebuked Napolitano – a very balanced, diplomatic politician who once headed the Communist party – for his, in my view, quite appalling decision.