Pope Francis has appointed two nuns, including a Frenchwoman, and a laywoman to the department in charge of the bishop selection process, the Vatican announced on Wednesday.
The French nuns Yvonne Reungoat and the Italian Raffaella Petrini, as well as the Argentine laywoman Maria Lia Zervino, will be the first women to exercise within this prestigious dicastery, equivalent to a ministry.
These appointments come as the 85-year-old pope has repeatedly asserted that women should play a greater role in church government.
Last year, he authorized by a decree women to read during liturgies and to give communion, without however going so far as to open the door to the priesthood for them.
The new constitution of the Roman Curia (the government of the Vatican), which came into effect last month, allows women to lead departments in the Vatican.
Raffaella Petrini, a Franciscan, has been the secretary general of the governorate of the Vatican since November, and the first woman to hold this position.
Yvonne Reungoat, a 77-year-old Salesian, was appointed in 2019 along with six other women to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, an institution in charge of religious orders and congregations.
This was again a first, because its members had until then been priests, bishops or cardinals.
Maria Lia Zervino was previously the president of the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations.
Members of the Bishops' Dicastery are responsible for evaluating potential candidates and giving recommendations to the pope.
The Editorial Board (with AFP)