Vatican Corner 03-15-2020

The leadership of the government of the Roman Catholic Church (Curia) has almost always been completely male-dominated, since women are not allowed to be ordained priests. Women have traditionally been in support rolls. However, the head of a government office does not necessarily have to be a priest, and in some cases can even be a layperson. Pope Francis promised to appoint more women to decision-making jobs, but that has been slow in happening. He has been able to double the number of women under-secretaries from two to four. The latest under-secretary is Francesca Di Giovanni, 66, an Italian lay woman and a specialist in international law, human rights and migrants. She has worked since 1993 in the Va”can State Department and.her appointment by Pope Francis on January 15, 2020 was to a newly created position for the sec”on of relations with states. She will be overseeing multilateral relations with more than 180 countries and multilateral organizations such as the United Nations. About her appointment, she said “A woman may have aptitudes for finding commonalities, healing relationships with unity at heart. I hope that my being a woman might reflect itself positively in this task, even if they are gifts that I certainly find in my male colleagues as well.” In 2016, Pope Francis appointed the Italian art historian Barbara Jatta to the position of director of the Va”can Museums. That appointment caused a sensation in the art world, as no other museum of its size and importance has a woman in charge. It is among the five most visited in the world. Ms. Jatta studied art history at the Sapienza University in Rome and went to work for the national Italian museums and as a lecturer at the University of Naples. When doing research she met the cardinal in charge of the Va”can Library. In 1996 he invited her to come and work for him, and after 20 years of hard work in the Library she was selected to be the director of the Va”can Museums. She now oversees thirteen major departments, the 60 heads of those departments, 150 restorers and conservators, 350 guards and is responsible for 200,000 works of art. She is always busy with many things going at once, from restoration projects, conferences, lectures, meetings, exhibitions, and cultural diplomacy. With 6 million people visiting per year, one of her projects is to break up tourist congestion. Pope Francis said that Jatta wants museums to be a bridge between different peoples and different cultures. On July 22, 2019, Pope Francis appointed Va”can Radio’s Cristiane Murray, 58, as the Deputy Director of the Va”can Press Office. Born in Rio de Janeiro, she is married with two children. She has a degree in Business Administration and Marketing from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio. Since 1995 she has been part of the Brazilian team broadcasting daily Va”can news in Portuguese. She also worked on the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon for over a year. Upon her appointment she said she was deeply moved and profoundly grateful to Pope Francis and her appointment represented an important sign of recognition for the daily work of all the Va”can journalists and her colleagues. Paolo Ruffini, the Prefect to the Editorial Directory said of her, that “the choice of a woman and roots in Brazil and an open gaze on the world is a testimony of the wish to build a team that knowns how to speak to all.” Pope Francis has said “Women attire givers and mediators of peace and should be fully included in decision –making processes, because when women can share their gifts, the world finds itself more united, more peaceful. Hence, every step forward for women is a step forward for humanity as a whole.”