The Vatican moved yesterday to quash speculation that at least two women would be among the cardinals that Pope Francis will name in February, saying such a move was "not a realistic possibility," the Religion News Service website reports today (November 5, 2013).
Last weekend, Irish media reported that Pope Francis could name Linda Hogan and Mary McAleese as cardinals. Both are associated with Trinity College in Dublin: Hogan as a professor of ecumenism, and McAleese -- the former president of Ireland -- as a former professor.
Francis has made many unexpected moves since becoming pope in March, and has established himself as an advocate of women in the church, telling "America" magazine two months ago that "the church cannot be itself without women" and saying that from a theological perspective, "Mary is more important than the bishops."
Rev. Federico Lombardi -- the Vatican's chief spokesman -- did his best to stifle the speculation, calling the notion "nonsense." He added: "It is simply not a realistic possibility that the pope will name female cardinals for the consistory in February."