Pope Names Five Women to International Theological Commission

Pope Francis, who has said the Catholic Church has "not yet come up with a profound theology of womanhood," named five women, a record number, to the International Theological Commission.

One of the women is U.S. Mercy Sister Prudence Allen, former chair of the philosophy department at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, and now a member of the chaplaincy team at Lancaster University, England.

Advertisement

On Sept. 23, the Vatican released the names of 30 theologians who will serve a five-year term on the commission. Women have served on the panel since 2004, but, until now, there have never been more than two.

The five women appointees also include Australian Tracey Rowland, dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne, who is a prominent authority on the theology of Pope Benedict XVI; and Moira Mary McQueen, a Canadian-British citizen who serves as director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute at the University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto.

In addition to Sister Allen, the commission will include one other American: Capuchin Franciscan Father Thomas G. Weinandy, former executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat of Doctrine.

According to a Vatican statement, women now constitute 16 percent of the commission’s members, "a sign of growing female involvement in theological research."

The International Theological Commission was established in 1969 to study important doctrinal issues as an aid to the pope and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It has produced documents in recent years on such topics as "Christian monotheism and its opposition to violence" and "sensus fidei in the life of the church."

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Chilean clerical sex abuse survivors Juan Carlos Cruz, James Hamilton and Jose Andres Murillo in Rome, May 2. The three met Pope Francis individually at the Vatican April 27-29. The Vatican announced on May 22 that a second group of abuse victims will visit the pope in June (CNS photo/Paul Haring).
The encounters will take place from June 1-3 at Santa Marta, the Vatican guesthouse where Francis lives.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 22, 2018
Pope Francis talks with Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, as they arrive for a meeting in the synod hall at the Vatican in this Feb. 13, 2015, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) 
Righteous call-outs should be patterned after Cardinal O’Malley’s rebuke of Pope Francis on sex abuse.
Simcha FisherMay 22, 2018
In May, my cousin Christina and her husband Tyler were murdered in their home.
John J. ConleyMay 22, 2018
Follow Father Arturo Sosa's first visit to the Jesuits in Canada!
America StaffMay 22, 2018