For the first time, women and laity form part of the group that chooses bishops for around the world.
Pope Francis has appointed 14 new members to the dicastery for bishops, including, for the first time, three women, the Holy See Press Office announced July 13, 2022.
The three women are the French nun Yvonne Reungoat, former Superior General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, the Italian nun Raffaella Petrini, Secretary General of the Governorate of Vatican City State and Maria Lia Zervino. This Argentinean, president of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations, becomes at the same time the first lay member of the dicastery.
In an interview given to the Reuters news agency on July 2, the pontiff announced that he would appoint two women to the dicastery for bishops. In the end, he appointed three, including one laywoman. Until now, the members of the dicastery have always been men, mainly cardinals, as well as a few bishops.
The work of the 24 members of this dicastery includes evaluating the profile of priests or bishops for a diocese whose see is vacant. They rely heavily on the work done by the apostolic nuncios in the countries concerned, whose main mission is to submit three names to Rome for each diocese, which will form the ‘terna’ proposed to the Pope.
Among the other notable appointments announced were four bishops who will be created cardinals in the consistory announced on August 27, including
• Archbishop Jean Marc Aveline of Marseille, France
• Bishop Oscar Cantoni of Como, Italy,
• South Korean Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy, Lazarus Bishop You Heung-sik, and
• British Prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Bishop Arthur Roche.
Four other cardinals become members of the dicastery for bishops: Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm (Sweden), Archbishop Jose Advincula of Manila (Philippines), Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church José Tolentino de Mendonça (Portugal), and General Secretary Mario Grech of the Synod of Bishops (Malta).
• Drazen Kutlesa, Archbishop of Split-Makarska (Croatia), and
•Bishop Paul Desmond Tighe (Ireland), Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture – a body that, according to the new Apostolic Constitution, is to be merged with the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the Arts,
•Donato Ogliari, Abbot of the Abbey of St. Paul Outside the Walls and Apostolic Administrator, with the rank of bishop, of the territorial Abbey of Monte Cassino.