Pope Francis says he plans to appoint women to the governing body that is involved in the process of selecting new bishops for the first time ever.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, the pope emphasized that he is open “to giving (women) an opportunity” to hold high-level positions in the Holy See, the universal government of the Catholic Church.
He disclosed that he intends to nominate two women to the Discastery for Bishops, which is an all-male committee made up of cardinals, bishops and priests.
“Two women will be appointed for the first time in the committee to elect bishops in the Congregation for Bishops,” he said.
“This way, things are opening up a bit,” he said during the July 2 interview.
The 85-year-old pontiff did not identify the women or say when their appointment would occur.
The move comes after a new constitution reorganizing the Holy See’s central government was implemented last month. The new document makes any lay man or woman eligible to lead Vatican departments.
Pope Francis has appointed several nuns and laywomen to Vatican departments. Last year, the pope appointed Italian nun Sister Alessandra Smerilli as secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the No. 2 position in the department that handles issues related to social justice and peace.