Pope Francis allows women on committee to advise appointment of bishops

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Pope Francis allows women on committee to advise appointment of bishops

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Pope Francis intends to appoint women to the Dicastery for Bishops — the institutional body that recommends priests and bishops for promotion within the Catholic Church.

While Pope Francis has been clear that women cannot and will not ever be able to serve as clergy due to the theology of the church, he has made several important steps to bring female perspectives into the Vatican.

The Dicastery of Bishops, also known as the Congregation for Bishops, is the pope’s immediate advisory council in evaluating the performance of clergy. The dicastery offers reports and assessments for would-be bishops before turning the final decision over to the pope.

“Two women will be appointed for the first time in the committee to elect bishops in the Congregation for Bishops,” Pope Francis told Reuters in a July 2 interview.

UNITED NATIONS ‘HAS NO POWER,’ POPE FRANCIS SAYS

Pope Francis joins attendees in prayer during the opening of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region on Oct. 7, 2019, in the Vatican. (Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images)

Pope Francis joins attendees in prayer during the opening of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region on Oct. 7, 2019, in the Vatican. (Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images)

“I am open to giving (women) an opportunity,” the holy father said at one point. “”This way, things are opening up a bit.”

The move has been expected for some time — Francis has already appointed woman to several non-clerical positions inside the Vatican. Last year, the pontiff approved Sr. Nathalie Becquat, an Xaviere nun, as under-secretary for the general secretariat of the Synod of Bishops.

However, the pope has not wavered an inch on female priests, at times directly antagonizing activists pushing for the consecration of women.

According to Catholic doctrine, priests and bishops are expected to act on behalf of Jesus, who is a man. They are believed to be the successors to the original twelve apostles, all of whom were appointed by Jesus and were male as well. 

In 2019, Pope Francis spoke to the International Union of Superiors General of Women saying, “We walk on a solid just path, the way of Revelation, we cannot walk a different road […] that alters revelation and dogmatic expressions.”

The pope concluded sharply, stating, “We are Catholics, but if any of you want to found another church you are free to go”

Sister Nathalie Becquart, a member of the Congregation of Xavieres, at the headquarters of the International Union Superiors General in Rome on Feb. 10, 2021. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images)

Sister Nathalie Becquart, a member of the Congregation of Xavieres, at the headquarters of the International Union Superiors General in Rome on Feb. 10, 2021. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images)

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The Bishop of Rome, after months of health problems and relative passivity, has made headlines repeatedly in past weeks via interviews and public appearances with seemingly renewed vigor.

Pope Francis criticized “ideological exploitation” of the Catholic Church in an interview with his birth country’s news authority.

Pope Francis made the comment Friday to Argentina’s national news agency, Télam, in an interview. The questions and discussion were conducted in Pope Francis’s native language, Spanish.

The pope drew a distinction between the South American church’s proximity to the people and political corruption of the church.

“That was altered when people could not express themselves, and it ended up becoming a church of trail bosses, with pastoral agents in command,” the pope clarified. “People began to express themselves more and more about their religion, and they ended up becoming protagonists of their own story.”

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