Pope names first woman to senior Vatican post
VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis yesterday named the first woman to hold a high-ranking post in the Secretariat of State, the male-dominated Vatican’s diplomatic and administrative nerve center.
Italian lay woman Francesca Di Giovanni, 66, will assume a newly-created post in a division known as the Section for Relations with States where she takes the rank of under-secretary, effectively one of two deputy foreign ministers.
The Roman Catholic Church allows only men to be ordained as priests and women have traditionally been consigned to the shadows of its administration.
However, women’s groups, including the International Union of Superiors General, an umbrella group of Catholic nuns, have long called on the pope to appoint more women to senior jobs within the Vatican bureaucracy.
They cite figures showing that more than half of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics are women and that membership of female religious orders is about three times larger than male orders.
A Vatican statement confirming Di Giovanni’s appointment said she would oversee multilateral relations in the Secretariat, where she has worked since 1993. (Reuters)