Pope Francis appoints first woman as undersecretary in advisory body

Breaking with tradition and opening a new door in the synodal process, Pope Francis has appointed a woman, Nathalie Becquart, a member of the Xavière Sisters, Missionaries of Jesus Christ, in France, as one of two new undersecretaries of the synod of bishops. As such, she will have the right to vote in the synod.

It is the first time this right has been given to a woman in the synod and raises the prospect that the right could be extended to other women participants at future synods. Sister Becquart, who belongs to France, has worked as a consultant with the synod since 2019. When asked how it felt to be the first woman to hold the position, Sister Nathalie said she saw it as a sign and felt the appointment signified “confidence in women in the Church”. She said that Pope Francis was listening and giving a reply, which is a step forward for a Church with “women and men together to serve the common good of the world”. Becquart said that the appointment was a call to “serve the Universal Church”, reported Vatican News. The main job is “to help and lead the preparation of the Synod, then the celebration, then the next stage of the implementation”, she said.