The new Vatican commission studying the possibility of allowing women to serve as deacons in the Catholic church will be meeting in Rome for the first time as a full group Nov. 25-26.

The dates of the meeting, anticipated in recent months, was first reported Saturday by the U.S. newspaper Newsday, which spoke to commission member and NCR columnist Phyllis Zagano.

Pope Francis’ creation of the commission, formally known as the Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate, has been seen as signaling an historic openness to the possibility of ending the Catholic church’s practice of an all-male clergy.

The commission is made up of 12 experts in patristic theology, ecclesiology, and spirituality. It is led by Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria, a Jesuit who serves as the second-in-command of the Vatican’s doctrinal congregation.

As reported first by NCR, Francis promised to create the commission during a meeting at the Vatican in May with some 900 leaders of the world’s congregations of Catholic women religious, who were in Rome for the triennial meeting of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). CONTINUE READING