Skip to comments.Reading Francis Through Benedict… no… really… try it!
Posted on 04/03/2013 3:01:02 PM PDT by NYer
A clever reader caught this and posted about it in the combox elsewhere.
Compare a section of Pope Francis general audience today to Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth part II:
One initial difference is that in the confessional tradition only men are named as witnesses, whereas in the narrative tradition women play a key role, indeed they take precedence over the men. This may be linked to the fact that in the Jewish tradition only men could be admitted as witnesses in courtthe testimony of women was considered unreliable. So the official tradition, which is, so to speak, addressing the court of Israel and the court of the world, has to observe this norm if it is to prevail in what we might describe as Jesus ongoing trial.
The narratives, on the other hand, do not feel bound by this juridical structure, but they communicate the whole breadth of the Resurrection experience. Just as there were only women standing by the Crossapart from the beloved discipleso too the first encounter with the risen Lord was destined to be for them. The Churchs juridical structure is founded on Peter and the Eleven, but in the day-to-day life of the Church it is the women who are constantly opening the door to the Lord and accompanying him to the Cross, and so it is they who come to experience the Risen One.
From Francis’ Wednesday audience:
Another element. In the professions of faith of the New Testament, only men are remembered as witnesses of the Resurrection, the Apostles, but not the women. This is because, according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses. In the Gospels, however, women have a primary, fundamental role. Here we can see an argument in favor of the historicity of the Resurrection: if it were a invented, in the context of that time it would not have been linked to the testimony of women. Instead, 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.
Francis goes on to call upon women, especially mothers, to give witness to Christ. He decidedly does NOT suggest that they should have a greater role in the Church’s juridical structure (i.e., ordination). Benedict makes that point in his comments, which surely Pope Francis (or his scribbling elves) was looking at.
Good stuff. Thanks!