In a first, Pope Francis has elected a woman as an undersecretary of the synod of bishops. The first to hold the post with voting rights in a body that studies major questions of doctrine. Breaking traditions, Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart is one of the two new undersecretaries named to the synod, where she has been a consultant since 2019. With this appointment, the pope has signalled his wish to restructure the synod and have women and congregations play a greater role in the church.
Picture courtesy: Shutterstock *Image for representational purposes only.
In a statement to the press, Cardinal Mario Grech, the Secretary-General of the synod said, “The appointment signals the pontiff’s desire for a greater participation of women in the process of discernment and decision-making in the church. With the nomination of Sister Nathalie Becquart and her possibility of participating in voting, a door has opened.” The synod is led by bishops and cardinals who have voting rights and also comprises experts who cannot vote. In the past female auditors were invited to the assembly, but none could vote.
Nathalie Becquart, 52, a member of the France-based Xaviere Sisters, has a master’s degree in management from the prestigious HEC business school in Paris and studied in Boston before joining the order.