Holy Father Pope Francis has broken with Catholic tradition and has appointed Frenchwoman Nathalie Becquart as an undersecretary to the synod of bishops. Nathalie is one of the two undersecretaries named to the synod where she has been a consultant since 2019. The other undersecretary is Spaniard Luis Marin de San Martin. This appointment signals the Ppe’s desire for participation of women in decision making in the church.
During the previous synods, the number of women participating as experts and listeners has increased. A special synod on the Amazon in 2019 had 35 female auditors but none of them could vote.
The synod is led by bishops and cardinals who have voting rights and it also has experts who cannot vote. The next gathering is scheduled for autumn 2022. Nathalie is a member of the France- based Xaviere Sisters, with a masters degree in management from the prestigious HEC business school in Paris. She also studied in Boston before joining the order. The Argentinian-born Pope has expressed his wish to reform the synod and to permit women as well as laypeople to play a greater role in the affairs of the church.