Pope Francis Appoints Six Women In Senior Roles To Oversee Vatican Finances
In an attempt to bring more women into Vatican administration, Pope Francis appointed six women to the 15-member Council for the Economy. This is the most senior role offered to women in the Vatican City till now.
The Council for the Economy was created by Pope Francis in 2014 as a means to monitor everything financial within the Vatican. According to the law, this economic council must include eight bishops and seven laypeople. Till now, this council has been all-male, and will continue to be male-dominated, as bishops are always male.
“That six are women is a pretty big quota,” Joshua McElwee, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, told The Guardian. He added, “…The important thing here is that these six women are part of a group that essentially oversees all of the financial activities of the Vatican, so obviously that’s a pretty top-level group.”
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These appointments are also meant to help the Vatican navigate its financial crisis, worsened by the steep drop in tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic. This is also why the women appointed are from high profile finance backgrounds, including Ruth Kelly (former British Labor Minister), Leslie Ferrar (former treasurer to Prince Charles), and Dr Marija Kolak (president of the National Association of German Cooperative Banks).
This is the latest in a number of progressive moves by Pope Francis, with previous instances including endorsing the state of Palestine, holding high-ranking officials responsible for sex abuse allegations, and pushing for action on climate change. Francis has also shown support for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, sex workers and divorced people, all while receiving heavy criticism from more traditionalist members of the Catholic Church.