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Pope Francis greets Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, Chiara Porro, and a group of Australian women wearing wattle lapel pins at the Vatican in March 2023 (Vatican Media)

The Church’s global synodal process has made it easier for women to voice different opinions and share diverse experiences, including inside the Vatican, according to Australia’s ambassador there. Source: NCR Online. 

“Women in the Catholic Church have very diverse views … as they do across society, and I think that’s something that has emerged through the synodal process,” said Ambassador Chiara Porro.

“But one of the positives of the synod that I see in this regard is that people are more willing to put forward their views in a way that’s not confrontational,” she said. “And with the understanding that people will have different views, and that has changed during my time here.”

“I felt that many women did not feel comfortable expressing their views,” Ms Porro told NCR. “Whereas nowadays there is much more of an environment and an ability to exchange and accept different perspectives.”

Ms Porro’s remarks came in an interview for NCR’s The Vatican Briefing podcast on May 7, as she reflected on her experience representing Australia at the Holy See since 2020.

The Australian diplomat said that while she has witnessed progress on issues related to gender equality and women’s empowerment during her four years in Rome, “there’s still a long way to go”.

“I think the barriers are very much still there,” Ms Porro added. 

During the interview, she discussed the recent 50th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between Australia and the Holy See, and her work at the Vatican on a number of issues, including promoting women’s leadership, raising awareness of Indigenous peoples, and prioritising safeguarding and child protection.


Vatican has made progress on listening to women, says Australian diplomat (By Christopher White and Joshua McElwee, NCR Online)