The Vatican taking a look at the role of women in the Catholic Church.

FOX's Simon Owen reports from the European bureau:

Pope Francis setting up the commission to study the role of women Deacons in early Christianity. It's a move that's being seen as a potential first step to allowing women to enter the Catholic clergy.

Deacons are able to preach, teach, baptize and conduct funerals. Just like priests, they also have to be men. But in centuries past the role was open to women as well.

Scholars disagree on how much women were allowed to do, hence the study. The Pope's panel of 12 experts is made up of six men and six women, including priests, nuns and lay-people.

In London, Simon Owen, FOX News.

Follow Simon Owen on Twitter: @bigso