Pope Francis named a bioethics expert and a seasoned canon lawyer, both women, as undersecretaries of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life. The appointments of Gabriella Gambino, a bioethics professor at Rome’s Tor Vergata University, and Linda Ghisoni, a judge on the regional tribunal of the Diocese of Rome, were announced Nov. 7 at the Vatican. Gambino was appointed undersecretary of the dicastery’s section for life, while Ghisoni was named to the section for the laity, the Vatican said.
Today’s appointments are the latest in a series since Pope Francis established the new Vatican dicastery for the laity, the family and life, by incorporating into one the three councils that were previously independent of each other. He then began the reform of this new department by nominating Bishop Kevin Farrell from Dallas, Tex., as head of this new dicastery. He gave him a brief to appoint laity to key positions and to internationalize the dicastery. But, as the cardinal told me, “It has been a struggle to find competent lay people to fill those positions.”