Pope Francis has appointed Francesca Di Giovanni, a lay woman from Italy, as a senior diplomat in the Secretariat of State, the Vatican’s diplomatic and administrative body. Ms Di Giovanni will be under-secretary in a division known as the Section for Relations with States, which essentially means she will be a Deputy Foreign Minister.
The new post which would normally have gone to a member of the male clergy is a welcome sign of changes taking place under Pope Francis. However, despite the Pope’s intention to appoint more women to decision-making roles in the Vatican, Ms Di Giovanni joins only about half a dozen others to date.
According to statistics from UISG, more than half of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics are women and that membership of religious orders for Nuns is about three times larger than male religious orders.