Castel Gandolfo (Italy): Pope Benedict XVI
on Monday paid tribute to the role of women in Christianity as he
gave a post-Easter prayer at his residence in Castel Gandolfo
"Women have experienced a special tie with the Lord," the
pope said, speaking in a firm but hoarse voice to several
hundred worshippers gathered in the courtyard of his summer
residence about 25 kilometres southeast of Rome.
"In all the gospels, women play a large role in the
account of the appearance of the resurrected Christ and also
in the passion and the death of Jesus."
The pope called women`s role "fundamental for the
concrete life of the Christian community" not only in the
church`s beginnings but in every era.
Benedict, who has been pope since 2005, turns 85 on April
After reciting the Regina Caeli, the special prayer that
replaces the traditional Angelus during the Easter season, he
greeted worshippers in English, French, German, Italian and
Spanish, drawing a shower of applause from Spanish-speakers
who shouted "Viva el papa!"
Benedict recently returned from a six-day visit to Mexico
and Cuba, his first-ever visit to Spanish-speaking Latin
In his Easter message yesterday, the pope appealed for
peace and reconciliation around the world, particularly in
He also condemned discrimination and persecution of
Christians, singling out Nigeria, where a car bombing near a
church in the northern city of Kaduna killed 20 people on