Seven protesters advocating for a wider inclusion of women in senior leadership roles in the Catholic Church have been arrested and later released in Italy.
The women, who held a scarlet parasol inscribed with phrases such as "Ordain Women," "Reform Means Women," and "It's Reigning Men," protested on Monday as 197 cardinals arrived in the Vatican to hold a meeting with the Pope.
As the men walked pass them, the delegation of the Women's Ordination Worldwide (WOW) handed out pamphlets and urged them to "remember your sisters who remain outside."
According to the group, after few minutes of greeting the cardinals, police detained them and later escorted them across St. Peter's Square to the local police station.
After four hours, the group was released with "pending investigation", WOW's statement said.
Speaking to Religious News Service, Kate McElwee, one of the women arrested and the director of WOW, said the group knew being arrested was a possibility but even though the experience has "shaken her", she hopes it will rally more people to their cause "because it shows that even just seven women can have a huge impact on the conversation."
Although Pope Francis has already made changes and appointed several women to influential Vatican roles, he has ruled out the possibility of female ordination.
Premier has contacted the police for comment.