When María Lía Zervino learned she was among the first three women appointed as members of the Vatican's Dicastery for Bishops, only two words came to mind: "What appointment?"
Called up by a journalist to get her reaction to the news, the Argentine was left in shock, and called Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the dicastery's leader, to confirm what she had heard was actually true. The cardinal congratulated Zervino, who said her heart "began to pound really hard" before she went to a nearby chapel to process the information.
In her strikingly plain office about a half-hour's walk from St. Peter's Square, Zervino sat down with NCR July 19 to discuss the significance of her appointment and assess the state of women in the global church today.
French Salesian Sr. Yvonne Reungoat, also appointed to the Vatican's Dicastery for Bishops, told Spanish publication Vida Nueva that "the ideal bishop does not exist." But he has to be a shepherd who is "close to the people entrusted to him, he has to know how to involve priests, laity and religious, and people of different generations."
In a public Mass on July 26, Pope Francis appealed to Canadian Catholics to safeguard the memory of grandparents and the elderly as a necessary means of preventing the mistakes of the past and for building a better future.
Remembering one's ancestors, said Francis, is a means of building "a future in which the history of violence and marginalization suffered by our Indigenous brothers and sisters is never repeated."
Just hours after Pope Francis begged pardon for the Catholic Church's shameful treatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada's abusive residential school system, the pope directed his attention specifically to Catholic worshippers, saying that all churches should be respectful of different cultures and "open and inclusive."
You can follow along with all of our coverage of the papal trip to Canada here.
Pope Francis delivered a masterclass in contrition and responsibility for the sins of the past during his meetings with Indigenous peoples in Canada, says NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters.
Over the years, Franciscan Fr. Daniel P. Horan's perspective on the U.S. has shifted when he's abroad and able to look at America from afar — most recently in South Africa as the Jan. 6 hearings were held back home.
ICYMI: Ahead of Guatemala's upcoming election season, the country's bishops said religious gatherings in the coming months should "not fall into the temptation of mixing political propaganda with apparent prayer."