The pope said that “two women will be appointed for the first time in the committee to elect bishops in the Congregation for Bishops. This way, things are opening up a bit.”
The represents the first time women will be formally included in the process for selecting the world’s bishops. The normal procedure involves the presentation of possible candidates by the papal nuncio, who acts as the pope’s ambassador in a given country. The members of the Congregation of Bishops then take a vote regarding whom to propose to the pontiff, who makes the final decision.
Last year Francis appointed Sister Raffaella Petrini as deputy governor of the Vatican City State, making her the first woman to hold the position and the highest-ranking woman in the Vatican.
In 2020, the pope named Francesca di Giovanni as undersecretary for the multilateral sector in the Vatican Secretariat of State’s office for Relations with States and International Organizations, another first. Several other women hold high-level positions in the Vatican, including the first female director of the Vatican Museums; under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops; director of the theological-pastoral office of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication; deputy director of the Holy See Press Office; andundersecretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.