“For six women to be women is quite a large quota,” said Joshua McElwee, Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter. “But what’s important here is that these six women are part of a group that basically oversees all of the Vatican’s financial activities, so it’s obviously a very high level group.”The women nominated are all European and have high profile financial backgrounds. Leslie Ferrar, former treasurer of Prince Charles, is the other Briton on the team. The other women are Charlotte Kreuter-Kirchhof and Marija Kolak, both Germans, as well as Maria Concepción Osácar Garaicoechea and Eva Castillo Sanz, both Spanish. The only layman on the board is Alberto Minali, former managing director of Generali, the Italian insurance company.
The appointments come as the Vatican struggles with its finances, with problems made worse by the coronavirus pandemic and a sharp drop in visitors to the Vatican Museums, a cash cow for the Holy See.
Francis created the Economic Council in 2014. “It’s basically the supervisory board for everything financial in the Vatican, the only person above being Pope Francis,” McElwee said.
Other women who obtained important positions during Francis’ papacy include Barbara Jatta, who heads the Vatican Museums, and Francesca Di Giovanni, the undersecretary of the Vatican Secretariat of State.
Kelly, 52, was an economic correspondent for the Guardian for four years in the 1990s, and then held a number of ministerial and ministerial positions in Labor governments under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, heading the departments of the education, transportation, and communities and local government. In the latter role, she was also Minister for Women.
At 36, she was the youngest woman to sit in a British cabinet. But Blair’s surprise appointment of Kelly as secretary of education ruffled colleagues who thought the others were better qualified. She had four children – the first born 11 days after the 1997 election – in her first five years as an MP.
Her staunch Catholicism and membership in Opus Dei – a secretive, highly conservative and influential group within the Roman Catholic Church – has upset women’s rights and LGBT activists. She rejected calls to break up with the group, saying, “It’s a private spiritual life and I don’t think it’s relevant to my work.”
But she ruled out working at the Ministry of Health because of its opposition to abortion, and at the Ministry of International Development because it encouraged the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV / AIDS.
She was also criticized for sending her son, who suffered from dyslexia, to a private school for £ 15,000 a year.
Kelly resigned from the firm in 2008, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family and had not run in the 2010 election. She joined HSBC and moved in 2015 to St Mary’s University , Twickenham.
Farrer, 65, spent seven years as treasurer to the Prince of Wales, before working for KPMG. Since leaving the royal household, she has held several non-executive leadership positions, including at the Institute for Works of Religion, better known as the Vatican Bank.