World

Pope Francis names nuns, lay women among new Dicastery for Bishops

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Pope Francis has announced the latest members of the Catholic Church’s Dicastry for Bishops — including two religious sisters and a lay person.

The Dicastry for Bishops is the Catholic Church’s highest authority on the search for, evaluation of, and appointment of bishops. The body, usually made up exclusively of cardinals, serves as a deliberative organ of the church responsible for ensuring good leadership worldwide.

Pope Francis has elected to appoint women to the role for the first time in history, including two religious sisters and the head of multiple Catholic women’s organizations.

Vatican City’s Secretary-General of the Governorate Sr. Raffaella Petrini has been chosen to sit on the congregation, as well as former Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Sr. Yvonne Rejoined. They are joined by Dr. Maria Lia Zervino, a lay woman and president of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations.

The Dicastery of Bishops, also known as the Congregation for Bishops, is the pope’s immediate advisory council for evaluating the performance of the clergy. The dicastery offers reports and assessments for would-be bishops before turning the final decision over to the pope.

While Pope Francis has been clear that women cannot and will not ever be able to serve as clergy due to the theological beliefs of the church, he has made several important steps to bring female perspectives into the Vatican.

In addition to the three female seats, the pope has appointed a line-up of Vatican heavyweights, including a slew of members of the cardinalate.

Secretary-general of the governorate Sister Raffaella Petrini (R), the first-ever woman to head the governorate of the Vatican City, attends the Pope's audience with the Vatican employees for the Christmas greetings in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on December 23, 2021. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP) (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP via Getty Images)

Secretary-general of the governorate Sister Raffaella Petrini (R), the first-ever woman to head the governorate of the Vatican City, attends the Pope’s audience with the Vatican employees for the Christmas greetings in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on December 23, 2021. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP) (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP via Getty Images)

Cardinals sitting on the congregation now include: Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm; Cardinal Jose Advincula, Archbishop of Manila; Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church; Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Arthur Roche, Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Cardinal-elect Lazzaro You Heung-sik, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy; Cardinal-elect Jean-Marc Aveline, Archbishop of Marseille; Cardinal-elect Oscar Cantoni, Bishop of Como.

Non-cardinals of particular importance and expertise have also been appointed, including Archbishop Dražen Kutleša, Archbishop of Split-Makarska; Bishop Paul Desmond Tighe, former secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Fr. Dom Donato Ogliari, Abbot of the Abbey of San Paolo fuori le Mura.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The move has been expected for some time — Francis has already appointed women to several non-clerical positions inside the Vatican. Last year, the pontiff approved Sr. Nathalie Becquat, an Xaviere nun, as under-secretary for the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

However, the pope has not wavered an inch on female priests, at times directly antagonizing activists pushing for the consecration of women.

In 2019, Pope Francis spoke to the International Union of Superiors General of Women saying, “We walk on a solid just path, the way of Revelation, we cannot walk a different road […] that alters revelation and dogmatic expressions.”

The pope concluded sharply, stating, “We are Catholics, but if any of you want to find another church you are free to go.”

Leave a Comment