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Pope Francis appoints three women to advisory committee for bishops

The Vatican announced that Pope Francis has appointed three women two nuns and a laywoman to a formerly all-male committee that assists him in choosing the world’s bishops. In an exclusive interview with Reuters earlier this month, Pope had made the announcement, emphasising that he wished to give women more high and powerful posts in the Holy See.

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KEY POINTS:

  • The three women are Argentine laywoman Maria Lia Zervino, head of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, UMOFC, French nun Yvonne Reungoat, a former superior general of a religious order, and Italian sister Raffaella Petrini, who is currently the deputy governor of the Vatican City.
  • The Dicastery for Bishops, which screens applicants and counsels the pope on which priests should become bishops, was founded by the appointment of 14 persons, including the three women.
  • Locally, bishops begin the process by recommending priests to archbishops who they believe would become good bishops.
  • The Vatican nuncio, or envoy, in a nation receives the list and carefully investigates each candidate before making recommendations to the Vatican.
  • About twice a month, the committee’s international members convene in Rome to discuss their suggestions, which are then forwarded to the pope for final approval.

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