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Exclusive: The Pope gives women a say in the appointment of bishops

Exclusive: The Pope gives women a say in the appointment of bishops

  • The current committee to assist the pope in selecting bishops is all male
  • The new rules allow even ordinary Catholics to head most Vatican offices
  • The Pope has already appointed some women to high positions

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis said he wants to give women more senior positions in the Holy See and revealed that for the first time he will appoint women to the once all-male Vatican committee that helps him choose women. world bishops.

The role of women in the Vatican hierarchy was one of many ecclesiastical and international topics the 85-year-old Pope discussed in an exclusive interview with Reuters at his Vatican residence on July 2. read more

A new constitution for the Holy See’s central administration that took effect last month allows any baptized Catholic, including men and women, to head most departments of the Vatican. Read more

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“I am open to giving (women) a chance,” he said in part of the 90-minute interview that discussed the new constitution for the central administration, known as Korea.

He noted that last year, for the first time, he appointed a second-ranked woman governor of Vatican City, making Sister Raffaella Petrini the highest-ranking woman in the world’s smallest state.

“Two women will be appointed for the first time to the Bishops Election Committee in the Synod of Bishops,” he said.

The move, which has not been officially announced, is very important because for the first time women will have a say in the appointment of the world’s bishops, who are all men.

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“That way, things open up a little bit,” he said.

Pope Francis speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters at the Vatican, July 2, 2022. REUTERS/Remo Caselli

new constitution

Francis did not name the two women and did not say when their appointments would be officially announced.

The members of the commission, now made up of cardinals, bishops, and priests, usually meet twice a month in Rome.

Last month, Irish-American Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, Dicastery’s Governor for Laity, Family and Life, said that with the passage of the new constitution, he would likely be the last clergyman to preside over that department.

When asked what other Vatican department could be headed by a man or a woman, Francis suggested that it could include the Department of Catholic Education and Culture and the Apostolic Library. They are currently headed by male clergy.

Francis has already named a number of women, nuns and lay women, in the departments of the Vatican.

Last year, the Italian nun named Sister Alessandra Smirelli as second in the Vatican Development Office, which deals with issues of justice and peace.

In addition, Francis appointed Nathalie Piccoart, a French member of the Missionary Sisters of Xavier, as co-procurator of the Synod of Bishops, which is major meetings of the world’s bishops that take place every few years.

Among the ordinary women who already hold senior positions in the Vatican are Barbara Gatta, first director of the Vatican Museums, and Christian Murray, deputy director of the Vatican Press Office. Both were appointed by Francis.

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(Philip Bolila reports). Editing by Alex Richardson

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