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Rome Reports

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Flaminia Giovanelli, the first lay woman appointed to a high level position at the Vatican

Flaminia Giovanelli is number 3 in command at the pontifical council where she’s worked for more than 35 years. She’s an expert on economics and political science. Giovanelli says although there aren’t many women who hold high positions at the Vatican, women play a big part at the Vatican.

Flaminia GiovanelliUnder-Secretary, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace“I’ve always had the confidence to speak my mind knowing my opinion will be listened to and it will count.”

20 percent of the employees at the Vatican are women. But in the halls of this Pontifical Council the men to women ratio is almost equal. That’s why some see the appointment as an example of the pope’s efforts to increase the presence of women inside the Vatican.

Flaminia Giovanelli says women are good educators of peace and they complement the vision of man.

Flaminia GiovanelliUnder-Secretary, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace"Women represent the practical side of theories. Thanks to the theories we can get to the practical side of things and make the best out of the results.”

Giovanelli was raised in Brussels and speaks four languages. She’s currently researching how to disseminate Benedict XVI?s encyclical ‘Charity in Truth’. She’s also working on collecting documents from the past 40 years on what the Church has done for peace.

Flaminia GiovanelliUnder-Secretary, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace“This could be a way of inviting young people to get involved, to promote justice and peace and to care for humanity.”

Backed by years of experience, Giovanelli is taking on this new job with enthusiasm. A job that in some way symbolizes the role of all women at the Vatican.