Pope Francis Appoints Three Women To Help Choose New Bishops

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has appointed three women to the Dicastery for Bishops, the Catholic Church’s office for appointing the world’s bishops.

It is a historic first.

On Wednesday, Francis announced that three women will take their places on the previously all-male Vatican Dicastery for Bishops, including two religious sisters and one laywoman in what marks another novel appointment by the Holy Father.

According to the Holy See Press Office, the three women are Franciscan Sister Raffaella Petrini, F.S.E., who currently serves as the Secretary General of the Governorate of the Vatican City State; Sister Yvonne Reungoat , F.M.A, a former Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians; and finally Dr. Maria Lia Zervino, current President of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations.

Zervino, who also serves as a consultant to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, is the first laywoman to take on a leading role in the Dicastery.

In addition, several high-ranking clergymen were appointed alongside the three women, including Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General for the Synod of Bishops, and Cardinal Arthur Roche, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

The remaining appointees are Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden;  Cardinal Jose F. Advincula, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines; Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça, Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church; Cardinal-elect Lazzaro You Heung-sik , Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy; Cardinal-elect Jean-Marc Aveline, Archbishop of Marseille, France; Cardinal-elect Oscar Cantoni, Bishop of Como, Italy; Archbishop Dražen Kutleša, Archbishop of Split-Makarska, Croatia; Bishop Paul Desmond Tighe, Secretary of the former Pontifical Council for Culture; and Father Donato Ogliari, Abbot of the Abbey of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls and Apostolic Administrator of the Territorial Abbey of Montecassino, Italy.

While the members of the Dicastery for Bishops play an important role in evaluating episcopal candidates, presenting their analyses to the Pope for his consideration, the decision on who becomes a bishop ultimately rests with the Pope.

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