The church needs to discuss the ordination of proven married men as the lack of vocations has become an "enormous" problem, Pope Francis told the German weekly Die Zeit.
"Why don't we start talking about other important church functions that women could take on?" the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture asked in a recent interview.
The cardinals advising Pope Francis on reforming the church's central bureaucracy have yet to create a single comprehensive draft of a new structure of governance.
The Vatican Pontifical Council of Culture recently sparked controversy when the cover image for an online working document intended to advertise this week's annual plenary assembly in Rome on "Women's Culture: Equality and Difference" was Man Ray's 1936 sculpture, "Venus Restored," a plaster cast of a headless Venus bound in ropes.
Women around the world have been invited by the Vatican to answer this question: "Where are we as women today?"
"We Europeans represent a form of Christianity that sometimes seems to be tired," Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said. African Christianity "shines as a beacon, as an example for other continents."
Early Christian burial sites are now easier to see thanks to 21st-century technology and collaboration between Google and the Vatican.