"Pope Francis said Thursday he is prepared to set up a commission to study the possibility of women entering the Catholic clergy at the rank of deacon, one below a priest.
Francis made the remarks in exchanges with female members of religious orders during a meeting at the Vatican, according to reporters who were present.
His spokesman said he could not immediately confirm the pontiff's exact remarks, which could have far-reaching implications.
In the exchanges, Francis said he had discussed the use of female deacons in the early centuries of the church but was not clear as to their exact role and status.
"Constitute an official commission that might study the question?" the pontiff asked aloud, according to the National Catholic Reporter and Italian news agencies.
"I believe yes. It would do good for the church to clarify this point. I am in agreement. I will speak (in favor of doing) something like this."
He later added: "It seems useful to me to have a commission that would clarify this."
Although deacons cannot celebrate mass they are ordained and can carry out many tasks in place of a priest, including presiding over baptisms and prayer services. They also often play a role in parish management and in offering pastoral guidance to believers." Daily Star
Well, I'm for this. I have always favored the idea of women Catholic clergy as well as marriage of clergy. Catholic deacons are clergy. They are in Holy Orders. They are allowed to be married if they already were when ordained but at present may not re-marry if widowed.
Many people do not understand that the pope really does not have unlimited authority. The dogma concerning papal infallibility is a 19th Century accretion and is only applicable when the pope speaks "ex cathedra" on matters of faith and morals, something that rarely occurs for the simple reason that to take that hard edged a position risks defections and schism.
This would be a first step. If the creation of women deacons were accepted the door would be opening to the ordination of women priests.
Good for you, Frank, Good for you, pl