Vatican calls speculation over female cardinals "nonsense"

Reports that Pope Francis may appoint a woman as a cardinal are not "remotely realistic," a spokesman said Monday

By Katie McDonough

Published November 4, 2013 9:09PM (EST)

  (AP/Domenico Stinellis)
(AP/Domenico Stinellis)

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

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Catholic Church Pope Francis Women In The Church