Pope Francis says that women should have a bigger presence in the Catholic Church, as well as in the professional and public spheres.
Addressing a women's group at the Vatican Saturday, Francis said he has urged women to play a more "diffuse and incisive" role. He says he strongly hopes they will become more active in church roles. He praised women for their "talents," including a "special sensibility and tenderness."
Women remain shut out of the church's most important positions. Francis has ruled out opening up the priesthood to women. His top advisers are drawn from cardinals, the elite group of men whose responsibilities include electing popes.