Vatican City, April 3 - Pope Francis put stress on the role women play in the Catholic Church in his general audience on Wednesday. Francis, who presided over his first Easter Sunday Mass last weekend after being elected Benedict XVI's successor on March 13, said it was significant that Mary Magdelene discovered Jesus's empty tomb. The gospels according to Mark and Luke say that Mary Magdelene was accompanied 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. "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".
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