Jul 14, 2022 - World

Pope Francis appoints women to bishops advisory panel for first time

Pope Francis, seated in a wheelchair following knee treatment, on June 4, 2022 at San Damaso courtyard in The Vatican.
Pope Francis during a June event at the Vatican. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis appointed three women to the Vatican office that advises the pontiff in the selection of bishops worldwide on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Nuns Raffaella Petrini and Yvonne Reungoat and laywoman Maria Lia Zervino are the first women to join the previously exclusively male Dicastery for Bishops, per the Vatican News.

  • The appointments mark the latest attempt in Pope Francis' years-long push to improve the gender balance in the Roman Catholic Church.

Flashback: Last year, Francis appointed the first woman to the No. 2 position in the governorship of Vatican City and the first woman to serve as an undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops.

For the record: The Roman Catholic Church prohibits women from joining the priesthood.

Go deeper: Pope appoints first woman to serve as secretary-general of Vatican City

Go deeper