Pope Francis: Women Are Crucial to the Catholic Church

Baseball season has started here in the United States, but it appears the game’s best hitter might be living in Rome, because Pope Francis has hit another home run.

In today’s general audience, Francis said that women–who were the first witnesses to Christ’s resurrection from the dead–are crucial to the faith.

Francis acknowledged that women were not named as the first witnesses of the resurrection in New Testament letters, but said this was due to the traditions of the times in which “women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses.”

However, Francis noted that in the Gospels “women have a primary, fundamental role” in the leadership of the early Church.

He continued (emphasis mine):

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. 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! 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. 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. In our journey of faith it is important to know and feel that God loves us, do not be afraid to love: faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love.

Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit guides the cardinal-electors in the selection of the Pope and three weeks into Francis’s papacy, it is hard to argue otherwise.