Pope Francis appoints first woman to the Synod of Bishops

Pope appointed woman to Synod

The Pope has appointed a woman as an undersecretary to the Synod of Bishops for the first time.

Xaviere Missionary Sister Nathalie Becquart, from France, will have voting rights in the body, which advises the pontiff. The Synod debates some of the most controversial issues in the Roman Catholic Church.

Sister Becquart will not be the first woman undersecretary of a major Vatican office, but she will be the first woman with a right to vote at a meeting of the Synod of Bishops.

The pope made the appointment on Feb 7, while also naming Father Luis Marín de San Martín, a 59-year-old Augustinian friar from Spain, to the same position. The priest will also be ordained a bishop.

The new co-undersecretaries will share the No. 2 post in the Synod secretariat. The body is headed by Maltese Cardinal Mario Grech, the 63-year-old secretary-general.

“During the last Synod assemblies, numerous Synodal Fathers emphasized the need that the entire Church reflect on the place and role of women within the Church,” Cardinal Grech told official Vatican Media.

“With the appointment of Sister Nathalie Becquart, and the possibility that she will participate with the right to vote, a door has been opened. We will then see what other steps could be taken in the future,” the cardinal added.

He noted that the decision reflects the Pope’s desire “for a greater participation of women in the process of discernment and decision-making in the church”.

The news comes less than a month after Pope Francis formally changed the Church’s law to allow women to administer communion and serve at the altar. However, the decree stressed that ordained priesthood would remain open to men only.

In 2020, the pontiff appointed six women to the council which oversees the Vatican’s finances.



Catholic News Service

La Croix International

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