Vatican says talk of female cardinals 'not remotely realistic'
The announcement that Pope Francis
will name new cardinals next year
sparked some fevered speculation that
he could bestow one of the red
birettas on a woman.
But the Vatican is doing its best to
dispel the rumors, saying that while it's
"theologically and theoretically"
possible, there won't be a princess
joining the princes of the church
"This is just nonsense," Vatican
spokesman Federico Lombardi told the
"Being a cardinal is one of those roles
in the church for which, theoretically,
you do not have to be ordained, but to
move from there to suggesting the
pope will name women cardinals for
the next consistory is not remotely
Pope Francis has made it clear he's not
averse to breaking with tradition , and
he has spoken about promoting the
role of women in the male-dominated
That fueled talk that he might be open
to a female cardinal, and some
commentators started circulating
candidate wish-lists last week with
names like former Irish President Mary
McAlese and Congo-born Italian
minister Cecile Kyenge.
Current canon law dictates that
cardinals must be a priest or a bishop
— of which there are no women — but
in theory that's a rule that could be
changed without violating church
Based on Lombardi's comments,
however, it appears that won't happen
— at least not before Francis' first
consistory (formal meeting of
Cardinals) in February.