Demonstrators calling for the Catholic Church to include women priests gather prior to the arrival of Pope Francis at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, for a prayer service and meeting with U.S. bishops, in Washington, on September 23, 2015. This is the first visit ever to the U.S by the pontiff. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Mike Theiler
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-POPE-PHILLY, originally transmitted on Sept. 26, 2015.
(RNS) The idea is to ordain them as deacons, not priests. But if the idea floated among 270 leading churchmen flies, it would represent a historic breakthrough for the Catholic Church -- or, perhaps, a return to a New Testament tradition.