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Pope assigns Vatican office to promote women's participation

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VATICAN CITY –  Pope Francis has assigned a Vatican office to promote the participation of women in the Catholic Church and reflect on their "equal dignity" — his latest effort to address longstanding complaints that women have a second-class status in the church.

Francis approved revised statutes for the Vatican's laity and family office, one of the big new departments created by Francis as part of his reform of the Vatican bureaucracy. The original 2016 statutes made no specific mention of women. The new ones released Tuesday say the office should contribute to a reflection "on the identity and mission of women in the church and in society, promoting their participation."

Francis recently appointed three women as consultants for the Vatican doctrine office, the first time in its history.

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