Italian religious becomes first female secretary of Vatican dicastery
August 26, 2021
CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis has appointed Sister Alessandra Smerilli as acting secretary of the dicastery for Integral Human Development—making her the first woman to hold that role in a Vatican dicastery. The 46-year-old Italian economics professor will replace two clerics, Msgr. Bruno-Marie Duffé and Father Augusto Zampini, who had served as secretary and adjunct secretary.
The Vatican announcement of Sister Smerilli’s appointment raised two questions: why she was named as “acting” secretary, and why Father Zampini was replaced less than a year after his appointment.
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