Pope Francis seemed to signal a change already in early July when he named seven women and a religious brother as full members of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
Opening the Vatican tombs of a princess and a duchess July 11 in a search for the remains of a young Italian woman missing for more than 30 years, the Vatican found no human remains at all.
The complex process of examining bones and extracting DNA will be crucial in determining whether the remains in a small Vatican cemetery belong to Emanuela Orlandi, a young woman who disappeared in 1983, a Vatican-appointed forensic anthropologist said.
“We have to admit that things move very slowly in the church,” Sharon Holland, I.H.M., told America, “But this is a piece of really good news.”
Patriarch Bartholomew said, "Pope Francis made this grand, fraternal and historic gesture" of giving the Orthodox fragments of the relics of St. Peter.
The decision was made in response to the request of Emanuela Orlandi's family, he said, and their questioning "the possible concealment of her cadaver in the small cemetery located within Vatican City State."