In a move that could eventually pave the way for female priests, Pope Francis said he would consider creating a commission that would study whether woman could serve as deacons.
The pope did not say he would support letting women serve as ordained ministers, but some saw the move as a major step in that direction.
Currently, the church allows married men to be deacons but not priests.
During a question-and-answer session Thursday, the pope was asked if he would create a commission to study whether women could be deacons, as was the case in the early history of the Church. Francis said he was open to the idea, according to the National Catholic Reporter.
Pope Francis said he was unclear what roles female deacons had in the early days of the church.
“What were these female deacons?” the pontiff recalled asking a professor years ago. “Did they have ordination or not?"
The pope then asked himself out lout whether he should study the question.
"I believe yes. It would do good for the church to clarify this point. I am in agreement,” according to the NCR.
“I accept,” the pope said later. “It seems useful to me to have a commission that would clarify this well."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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