Ten days after announcing he would appoint two women to the group that helps him choose bishops, Pope Francis has named three women to the office.
Jul 15, 2022
(From left to right) Sr Raffaella Petrini, FSE, Sr Yvonne Reungoat, FMA, and Dr Maria Lia Zervino.
VATICAN: Ten days after announcing he would appoint two women to the group that helps him choose bishops, Pope Francis has named three women to the office.
The Holy Father has named two nuns and a consecrated virgin, among the latest members of the Disastery for Vatican bishops. The female members are Sr Raffaella Petrini, FSE, Sr Yvonne Reungoat, FMA and Dr Maria Lia Zervino.
The move had been expected for some time. Although Pope Francis has been clear that women cannot and never will serve in the clergy due to the theological beliefs of the Church, he has taken several important steps to bring women’s perspectives to the Vatican. He has already appointed women to several non-clerical positions within the Vatican.
The Holy See Press Office released the Pope’s latest appointments to the Dicastery in a July 20 statement.
Sister Raffaella Petrini, Franciscan, has been Secretary General of the Governorate of the Vatican, the second post in the government of Vatican City State, since November 2021.
Sr Yvonne Reungoat is the former superior general of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Salesian branch. In 2019, the French sister was one of the first seven women to be appointed as a member of the Vatican’s Department of Religious Orders.
Dr. Maria Lia Zervino, a member of the Association of Consecrated Virgins “Servidoras”, is President of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations. She is also a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Dr. Zervino’s appointment also marks the first-ever appointment of a lay woman to the Vatican Dicastery.
The pontiff also appointed four current cardinals, four elected cardinals and two archbishops to the dicastery.
The members of the dicastery help to choose the bishops of the dioceses. They analyze the positions, called ponenze, giving an opinion on the candidates.
The final decision in appointing bishops rests with the Pope, and he is free to choose whoever he wants.
Usually, the pope’s representative in a country, the apostolic nuncio, transmits recommendations and documentation to the Vatican. The Dicastery of Bishops then discusses the nomination in another process and proceeds to a vote. After receiving the recommendations, the pope makes the final decision.
Before Pope Francis’ reform of the Roman Curia took effect in June, the members of the dicastery were only cardinals and a few bishops. — Agencies