The Pope highlighted the figure of Mary Magdalene today in his Angelus address, saying that she "plays a principal role in the Gospel."
The figure of Mary Magdalene has been the object of recent debate since the publication of "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown, and with the subsequent release of the film of the same title.
Benedict XVI said to the thousands gathered in the Alpine village of Les Combes, where he is vacationing until Friday, that the Gospel of St. Luke presents her as one of the women who followed Jesus after having "'been healed of evil spirits and infirmities,' specifying that from her 'seven demons had gone out.'"
"Magdalene would be present under the cross, together with the mother of Jesus and other women. She would discover, on the morning of the first day after the Sabbath, the empty sepulcher, next to which she remained weeping until the risen Jesus appeared to her," the Holy Father said.
The Pope said that "the story of Mary Magdalene reminds everyone of a fundamental truth: She is a disciple of Christ who, in the experience of human weakness, has had the humility to ask for his help, has been healed by him, and has followed him closely, becoming a witness of the power of his merciful love, which is stronger than sin and death."