Foreign Affairs
Pope appoints first woman in a high position at the Vatican’s Bishops’ Synod secretariat

The appointment of the first woman in a high position in the Bishops Synod’s secretariat at the Vatican is being considered as a sign of confidence towards women by the Church.

Sister Nathalie Bacquart is one of two new under-secretaries who will assist  Cardinal Mario Grech in his duties as secretary general of the Bishops’ Synod.

With her new post, Sister Nathalie Becquart has the right to vote in the next Synod in Rome next year, which will focus on a Synodal Church

Sister Becquart’s appointment has been described by the international media as historic and even revolutionary.

The 52-year old French nun, with a passion for sailing, compares her mission to a new adventure in the middle of an ocean. She told journalists that it is Pope Francis who is writing history because he is close to the people, feels and listens.

In past Synods, women’s participation was as observers and consultants, however it was the men, the majority bishops, who voted on the final positions sent by the Pope, who then formulates his document.

Sister Nathalie Becquart, who during the past two years worked as a consultant in the Synod’s office, states that things are not always easy in the Vatican. It resembles, she added, as being in the middle of the sea, facing storms and strong winds, however you also discover beautiful scenery.

Sister Nathalie Becquart will work closely with Cardinal Mario Grech. In an interview with Vatican News, Cardinal Grech said that the Church will be more synodal with these appointments, in conformity with Pope Francis wish.

This also reflects what Monsignor Grech told TVM shortly before he was appointed Cardinal. “The Pope wants a synodal Church, this will be the legacy he will leave to the Church. However, in a more general way, I think that Pope Francis assisted, is helping the Church to be closer to people”.

Monsignor Grech stated that Pope Francis stressed on many occasions on the importance that women are more involved in the Church, including in decision making.