Pope Francis has for the first time appointed a female Under-Secretary to the Synod of Bishops, the Vatican announced Saturday.
French Sister Nathalie Becquart will be the first woman to be appointed to the position, and will have voting rights in the synod.
This puts her in a place to help make key decisions in the Catholic Church, according to Vatican News, the Holy See’s official press website.
The Synod provides counsel to the Roman Pontiff including many controversial topics such as divorce.
Pope Francis appointed Becquart, along with Fr. Luis Marn de San Martin as the latest Under-Secretaries.
Cardinal Mario Grech, who heads the Synod told Vatican News that a “door has been opened” for the possibility of more women being able to vote.
“During the last Synods, numerous synodal fathers emphasized the need that the entire Church reflect on the place and role of women within the Church,” Grech said.
“Even Pope Francis highlighted several times the importance that women be more involved in the processes of discernment and decision making in the Church. Already in the last synods, the number of women participating as experts or auditors increased.
“With the appointment of Sr. Nathalie Becquart, and the possibility that she will participate with the right to vote, a door has been open. We will then see what other steps could be taken in the future,” Grech added.