A Vatican spokesman on Sunday called speculation that Pope Francis may appoint a female cardinal in coming months “just nonsense” and "not remotely realistic."
While spokesman Father Federico Lombardi conceded that “theologically and theoretically, it is possible” for a woman to become a cardinal, reports suggesting that the pope will name a woman as a cardinal for the next consistory are "not remotely realistic.”
The statement comes in response to reports from Irish and Irish-American media that Pope Francis was considering naming Irish theologian Linda Hogan and former president Mary McAleese as cardinals at a future conclave.
Women make up about 70 percent of the Catholic Church-going population, but there has never been a female cardinal.
Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.