Pope John Paul II has appointed Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard Law School professor, to serve as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, making her the highest ranking laywoman in the Vatican. Glendon, 65, who teaches and writes on human rights, comparative constitutional law and legal theory, has been a member of the academy founded by the pope in 1994 to advise the Vatican on social concerns and promote research aimed at improving society. The Vatican announced Glendon’s appointment March 9 following the news three days earlier that for the first time since its creation in 1969, two female theologians will serve on the International Theological Commission, an advisory body attached to the Vatican’s doctrinal arm. One is Sister Sara Butler, a member of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, who teaches dogmatic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois.


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