'Door has opened': Breaking Catholic tradition, Pope Francis appoints first woman to senior synod post

Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart is one of the two new undersecretaries named on Saturday to the synod, where she has been a consultant since 2019

Agence France-Presse February 07, 2021 14:34:13 IST
'Door has opened': Breaking Catholic tradition, Pope Francis appoints first woman to senior synod post

File image of Pope Francis. Reuters

Vatican City: Pope Francis has broken with Catholic tradition to appoint a woman as an undersecretary of the synod of bishops, the first to hold the post with voting rights in a body that studies major questions of doctrine.

Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart is one of the two new undersecretaries named Saturday to the synod, where she has been a consultant since 2019.

The appointment signals the pontiff's desire "for a greater participation of women in the process of discernment and decision-making in the church", said Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary-general of the synod.

"During the previous synods, the number of women participating as experts and listeners has increased," he said.

"With the nomination of Sister Nathalie Becquart and her possibility of participating in voting, a door has opened."

The synod is led by bishops and cardinals who have voting rights and also comprises experts who cannot vote, with the next gathering scheduled for autumn 2022.

A special synod on the Amazon in 2019 saw 35 female "auditors" invited to the assembly, but none could vote.

The Argentinian-born pope has signalled his wish to reform the synod and have women and laypeople play a greater role in the church.

He named Spaniard Luis Marin de San Martin as the other under undersecretary in the synod of bishops.

Becquart, 52, a member of the France-based Xaviere Sisters, has a master's degree in management from the prestigious HEC business school in Paris and studied in Boston before joining the order.

 

Updated Date:

Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply

also read

US Catholics upbeat about new Argentinian Pope
World

US Catholics upbeat about new Argentinian Pope

US Catholics said they were hopeful that the new Pope would heal the wounds of the recent past and help them reconcile modern American life with traditional church values.

Dalai Lama congratulates newly elected Pope Francis
World

Dalai Lama congratulates newly elected Pope Francis

The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader said in a statement on Thursday that while he was not especially familiar with Catholic saints, he was a fan of St Francis of Assisi.

Over 1.5 million people witness Pope Francis' inauguration Mass
World

Over 1.5 million people witness Pope Francis' inauguration Mass

The crowd may be the biggest in Rome since more than 1.5 million people came to the city for the beatification of the late Pope John Paul II on May 1, 2011.