Pope Francis appointed, on Saturday (6), the French nun Nathalie Becquart as undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops. This is the first time that a woman has been proposed for this post and that she will have the right to vote at such a meeting.
In 2019, Becquart has been a consultant to the Synod, which is the assembly of bishops responsible for studying the major doctrinal questions of the Catholic Church, since 1965. In the new position, she will be accompanied by the Spanish Luis Marín of San Martín, according to the Vatican.
Becquart was born in Fontainebleau (south-east of Paris) in 1969 and studied philosophy, theology, sociology and other disciplines at major university centers in Paris. She also did advanced studies in the United States and published several essays.
Becquart’s appointment reflects the Pope’s desire to promote “greater participation of women in the process of discernment and ecclesial decision,” Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Synod, explained at a press conference.
“In recent synods, the number of women who participated as experts or listeners increased. With the appointment of Sister Natalie Becquart and her ability to participate with the right to vote, a door has opened, ”added the cardinal.
The synod is made up of “synod fathers” (bishops or cardinals) who have the right to vote, as well as auditors and experts, without the right to vote.
In October 2019, religious who participated in a synod dedicated to the Amazon unsuccessfully asked for the right to vote on the final document of the assembly.
Pope Francis intends to pursue the reform of the Synod and, in general, the opening up of the Church to women and to the laity in a context of crisis of the priestly vocation. The next ordinary general assembly of the synod has been convened for 2022, and will have as its theme synodality, which can be defined as union around the missions of the Church, in its different spheres.