Pope Francis has set up a special commission to study whether women will be allowed to become deacons in the Catholic Church.
The issue has historically troubled the Church, with many opposing the appointment of females.
The commission of seven men and six women will study the issue, and look into the historical role of women in the early years of the Church.
Deacons are a clergy rank one below priest.
They are ordained ministers who can preach or preside over weddings and funerals, but cannot celebrate Mass.
Supporters say women are poorly represented within the Church and that appointing female deacons would give women greater sway in decision-making.
The Pope first remarked in May that he was willing to set up a commission to study the issue.
He had told senior members of women’s religious orders he was open to the issue of considering female deacons: “It would be useful for the Church to clarify this question. I agree.'”
The Vatican also clarified that the Pope was not considering the possibility of ordaining women priests.
Currently all Catholic priests and deacons are male. Priests must be celibate, but deacons can be married men.
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