Pope Francis speaks with members of the press on the flight from Bahrain to Rome. / Alexey Gotovsky/EWTN

Rome Newsroom, Nov 6, 2022 / 10:25 am (CNA).

While speaking about the gifts of women during an in-flight press conference on Sunday, Pope Francis mentioned the recent appointment of a pro-abortion economist to the Pontifical Academy for Life.

“I have seen that in the Vatican; every time a woman comes in to do work in the Vatican things get better,” the pope said Nov. 6 on the flight to Rome from Bahrain.

He mentioned several positions now filled by women, also citing, by name, pro-abortion economist Mariana Mazzucato.

“And now, I put on the family council Mazzucato, who is a great economist from the United States, to give a little more humanity to this,” he said.

Mazzucato, known for her work promoting the public sector’s role in encouraging innovation, was among seven academics appointed by the pope on Oct. 15 to serve five-year terms with the Pontifical Academy for Life.

In his comments, Pope Francis said the appointment of a woman as vice governor of the Vatican City State and the inclusion of women on the Council for the Economy had been a benefit to the Vatican.

Moving from all men to having five women on the Council for the Economy was “a revolution, because women know how to find a right way, they know how to move forward,” he added.

Mazzucato’s appointment to the life academy drew criticism due to her outspoken advocacy for abortion rights, including the tweeting and re-tweeting of pro-abortion statements concerning the Supreme Court’s decision to return abortion law to the states. 

The Pontifical Academy for Life issued a statement defending Mazzucato’s appointment on the grounds that members are chosen to contribute to “fruitful interdisciplinary, intercultural, and interreligious dialogue.”

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