News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Petrinibanner.JPG
Reuters
Petrini.JPG
Reuters
World News

Italian nun becomes highest ranking woman in the Vatican

by Reuters Journalist

Pope Francis has for the first time named a woman to the number two position in the governorship of Vatican City, making her the highest-ranking woman in the world's smallest state.

The appointment on Thursday of Sister Raffaella Petrini, a 52-year-old Italian nun, is the latest in which the 84-year-old Pope has placed a woman in a leadership role.

Petrini's new position of secretary general of the Governatorate of the State of Vatican City is comparable to being deputy governor of a state or deputy mayor of a city. The Governatorate, based in a large palace in the middle of Vatican City, oversees more than 2,000 employees.

The appointment of Petrini, who has a degree from LUISS, a prestigious Italian business university, marks the latest attempt by the Pope to keep promises to improve gender balance made years ago but which women's groups have said were too slow in being realised.

The Governatorate oversees the daily workings of Vatican City, including departments such as its police, firefighters, health service, museums, maintenance and office staff.

The previous holder of the post of secretary general is a bishop. He is now in the presidency, the top post.

A number of other women already hold number two posts in Vatican departments but they deal with religious and social issues and have much smaller staff levels.

In August the Pope named Italian nun, Sister Alessandra Smerilli to the interim position of secretary of the Vatican's development office, which deals with justice and peace issues.

In February he named Nathalie Becquart, a French member of the Xaviere Missionary Sisters, as co-undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, a department that prepares major meetings of world bishops held every few years.

Also in February, he named Italian magistrate Catia Summaria as the first woman Promoter of Justice in the Vatican's Court of Appeals.

He has also appointed six women to senior roles in the council that oversees Vatican finances and women to the posts of deputy foreign minister, director of the Vatican Museums and deputy head of the Vatican Press Office.

Pope Francis has said he sees no reason why a woman should not hold a top post apart from those that for doctrinal reasons are open only to ordained priests.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email

Connect

Donate

Donate