Pope Francis names British woman to head pontifical academy
In this photo released by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano Pope Francis arrives for an audience with students of the Gregoriana University, in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Thursday, April 10, 2014. (AP / L'Osservatore Romano)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, April 12, 2014 4:17PM EDT
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has named a British sociologist to run a pontifical academy, marking the highest-ranking appointment of a woman in his papacy.
The Vatican announced Saturday that Margaret Scotford Archer will lead the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which produces research to help the church establish policy.
Francis has made giving women a greater-decision making role in the church a priority of his papacy.
Archer, 71, replaces another woman appointed by John Paul II, Mary Ann Gledon, a Harvard University law professor and former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See.
Archer is director of social ontology centre at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne, Switzerland. She spent much of her career at the University of Warwick in Britain, and was named to the pontifical academy in 1994.