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First woman rector named for a pontifical university in Rome

Catholic World News - July 03, 2014

In a historic “first,” a woman has been nominated as rector of one of Rome’s pontifical universities.

Sister Mary Melone, who was the first women to be a tenured professor at the Pontifical University Antonianum and the first woman to serve there as dean, has been named by the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education to be the first female rector of the institution, which is run by the Franciscan order.

An Italian native who was born in 1964 and became a Franciscan in 1986, Sister Mary Melone, earned her doctorate in theology at the Antonianum and has been dean of the college of theology since 2011; she is the current president of the Italian society for theological research.

In an interview published by L’Osservatore Romano when she was appointed dean, Sister Melone said that women may have a distinctive approach to theological reflection, but she rejected the use of the term “female theology,” saying that “all that exists is theology.” She said that the Church should make more room for women, but added, “it doesn’t need quotas, it needs collaboration.”

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