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Pope names 1st woman manager in Vatican Secretariat of State

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has named an Italian lawyer to be the first woman to hold a management position in the Vatican’s most important office, the Secretariat of State.

Francis on Wednesday named Francesca Di Giovanni, a 27-year veteran of the Vatican, as undersecretary for multilateral affairs. In that role, she will be responsible for running a division that coordinates the Holy See’s relations with the United Nations and other intergovernmental organizations.

Francis has called for women to be given greater decision-making roles in the Vatican and the Catholic Church at large, though no women head a Vatican congregation or other important office.

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Such leadership positions are reserved for priests, bishops, or cardinals, and Francis has upheld church teaching prohibiting the ordination of women.

Di Giovanni, 66, told the Vatican’s in-house media that Francis’ appointment showed his attention to women, and she agreed with the pope’s assertion that women have certain aptitudes as peace-makers, mediators, and healers.

associated press