VATICAN CITY : Pope Francis on Wednesday named the first woman to a high-ranking post in the Secretariat of State, the male dominated Vatican's diplomatic and administrative nerve centre.

Italian lay woman Francesca Di Giovanni, 66, will assume a newly created post in 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 aomen have traditionally been consigned to the shadows of its administration.

However, women's groups, including the International Union of Superiors Catholic nuns, have long called on the pope to appoint more females to senior jobs within the Vatican bureaucracy.

A Vatican statement confirming Di Giovanni's appointment said she would oversee multilateral relations in the Secretariat where she has worked 1993.

Di Giovanni is a specialist in International Law and human rights.

She told the official Vatican website Vatican News that her appointment was ''unprecedented'' though ''the responsibility is connected to the job, rather than to the fact of being a woman'.

Despite the Pope's promise to appoint more women to decision-making jobs in the Vatican, Di Giovanni joins only about half a dozen others holding them.

The two most prominent are Barbara Jatta, head of Vatican Museums, and Cristiane Murray deputy head of the press office.

Last year, Francis also appointed four women as first female councillors for the Synod of Bishops, a department founded more than 50 years ago that prepares major meeting of world bishops held every few years on a different topic. [Reuters]


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!