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Pope Francis appoints five women to theological panel

Prof Tracey Rowland

Pope Francis has named Australian theologian Tracey Rowland among the new female members of the International Theological Commission.

The Vatican announced her appointment this morning, along with those of Sister Prudence Allen RSM, Sister Alenka Arko, Dr Moira McQueen and Prof Marianne Schlosser.

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announced earlier this month that the number of women serving on the commission would be increased. Until now, the commission had two female members, Sister Sara Butler and Prof Barbara Hallensleben.

Prof Tracey Rowland is Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne. Her books include Ratzinger’s Faith: the Theology of Pope Benedict XVI.

The International Theological Commission was created by Pope Paul VI in 1969. Its task is to help the Holy See, and primarily the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in examining major doctrinal questions.

In a statement accompanying the appointments, the Vatican said: “Women now constitute 16 per cent of the Commission’s members, a sign of growing female involvement in theological research.”