Women to get more top Vatican posts

As part of a Vatican plan to tackle secularisation, Pope Benedict will appoint more women to high level posts at the Holy See, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone says.

The Guardian reports that briefing journalists after visiting the pope at his holiday retreat in the Alps, Cardinal Bertone said the pontiff would give women "more space and more importance".

At a debate late on Wednesday, the cardinal, who runs the Vatican bureaucracy, said changes would be introduced in an expected reshuffle of senior posts.

"We're drawing up the new appointments in the Vatican - everyone knows that - and in the context of the responsibilities of the women, there'll be posts that they take up", he said.

The top priority of Benedict's papacy is to tackle what Catholic leaders see as rampant secularisation in Europe. A key reason for this, in the view of many Vatican officials, is the disaffection of women who once formed the backbone of Catholic congregations.

The most senior woman in the Vatican is a Salesian nun and university professor, Enrica Rosanna, who is the equivalent of a junior minister. She was appointed by Pope John Paul II in 2004 to the number three post at the ministry that oversees the religious orders.

Ten years earlier, he named an American academic, Mary Ann Glendon, as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. In 1995, she led the Holy See's delegation to the UN world conference on women in Beijing.

Women in other than secretarial roles are rare in the Vatican. According to La Stampa, 10 per cent of teachers in the church's Rome-based universities are women.

Pope to appoint more women in top Vatican jobs (The Guardian, 21/7/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Vatican website
Vatican City State

Vatican needs more women, says Italian professor {CathNews, 20/7/07}
Vatican delegate spells out new threats to women's dignity {CthNews, 9/3/05}
Vatican plea at UN for greater role for women {CathNews, 10/3/04}

23 Jul 2007