Pope Francis on Thursday said he was willing to set up a panel to look into the prospect of women serving as deacons in the Roman Catholic Church, reported The New York Times. The pope said this during an assembly of leaders of women's religious orders.

Speaking to a gathering of around 900 nuns, the pontiff said he was planning to "increase the number of women in decision-making positions in the church". Replying to a woman who suggested an official commission to study the issue, Francis said, " Why not? It would do good for the church to clarify this point. I am in agreement."

Deacons are ordained ministers in the Catholic church. According to the present practice, deacons must be must be men over the age of 35.