EXCLUSIVE: The pope will address women in bishop appointments

EXCLUSIVE: The pope will address women in bishop appointments
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  • The current committee to help the pope elect bishops is all men
  • The new rules even allow Catholics to head most Vatican offices
  • The pope has already appointed several women to high positions

VATICAN CITY, July 6 (Reuters) – Pope Francis has said he wants to give women a more top-level position in the Holy See and has announced that he will, for the first time, name women on a former all-male Vatican committee that will help him get elected. Bishop of the world

The 85-year-old pope discussed in an exclusive interview with Reuters at his Vatican residence on July 2 that the role of women in Vatican taxonomy was one of many church and international issues. Read more

A new constitution for the central administration of the Holy See, which came into force last month, allows any baptized Catholic, including ordinary men and women, to head most Vatican divisions. Read more

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

He noted that last year, for the first time, he nominated a woman to the number two position in the governorship of Vatican City, making Sister Rafaela Petrini the highest-ranking woman in the world’s smallest state.

“For the first time, two women will be appointed to the committee to select bishops in the church for bishops,” he said.

The move, which has not been officially announced, is significant because women will for the first time have a say in the appointment of bishops around the world, all of whom are men.

“That way, things are opening up a bit,” he said.

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

The new constitution

Francis did not say the names of the women or their appointments would be officially announced.

The members of the committee, which now consists of cardinals, bishops, and priests, usually meet twice a month in Rome.

Last month, Irish-American cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, prefect of the Decree for the Late, The Family and Life, joked that with the introduction of the new constitution, he could be the last clergyman for the head of that department.

When asked if any other Vatican department could be run by an ordinary man or woman, Francis suggested that they could include the Department of Catholic Education and Culture and the Apostolic Library. At present they are led by male scholars.

Francis has already named many women in the Vatican section, both monks and ordinary women.

Last year, he named Sister Alessandra Smerelli, an Italian monk, number two in the Vatican’s development office, which deals with issues of justice and peace.

Also, Nathalie Beckwart, a French member of Francis Xavier’s Missionary Sisters, has been named co-under-secretary of the Bishops’ Synd, which prepares the main meeting of world bishops every few years.

Among the ordinary women already at the top of the Vatican are Barbara Jatta, the first female director of the Vatican Museum, and Christian Murray, the deputy director of the Vatican Press Office. Both were appointed by Francis.

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Philip Pulella reporting; Edited by Alex Richardson

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