05/13/2016 09:39 EDT | Updated 05/13/2016 09:59 EDT

The Pope Says He Is Willing To Study Women Deacons

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis says he's willing to create a commission to study whether women can serve as deacons in the Catholic Church, signalling the possibility of letting women serve in ordained ministry.

Deacons are ordained ministers. Currently, the church allows married men to be deacons but not priests. The pope in no way signalled during a meeting Thursday with superiors of women's religious orders that he would allow women priests.

But asked during a question-and-answer session if he would create a commission to study whether women could be deacons, as in the early church, Francis said he was open to the idea, the National Catholic Reporter reported.

The publication quoted Francis as saying, "It seems useful to me to have a commission that would clarify this well.''

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