Pope Francis on Wednesday named three women to the Dicastery of Bishops, the Vatican office responsible for evaluating new members of the Catholic Church’s hierarchy
Pope Francis on Wednesday has announced three women to be appointed to the Dicastery for Bishops. This marks the first time in history when women are given the responsibility to identify future bishops globally. The two nuns and a lay woman have been appointed to the previously male-dominated committee.
The three women includes sister Raffaella Petrini, from Italy, currently the deputy governor of the Vatican City, nun Yvonne Reungoat, from Paris, a former superior general of a religious order, and a lay woman Maria Lia Zervino, from Argentina, president of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, UMOFC. These women were among the 14 people who have been appointed this year to the Dicastery for Bishops. Apart from the three women, the other 11 appointed were cardinals, bishops and priests.
The process of choosing them is a rigorous one. It starts locally where bishops suggest to archbishops the names of priests they think would make good bishops. Then, this list goes to the ambassador of the country, who further investigates the person and sends his recommendations to the Vatican. After that, finally, the members of the committee, who come from around the world, send their recommendations to the pope, who makes the final decision.
This year, Pope Francis made the decision to name women to the decision-making part of the bishops department as he believed, “This way, things are opening up a bit.” Apart from that, last year, he named nun Sister Alessandra Smerilli to the number two position in the Vatican’s development office, which deals with justice and peace issues.
In this way, Vatican City is paving the way for equality and respect amongst men and women and at the same time inspiring other countries to appoint women to higher levels of authority.
- Staff Reporter