Pope Francis said on Thursday that he would support a study of the historical role of women as deacons, a member of the clergy in the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is far from the only group that currently bans women from serving as clergy — in fact, in the United States, just 11 percent of religious congregations are led by a female clergy member, according to the 2012 National Congregations Study.
The Catholic Church is the largest denomination in America, with just over 20 percent of Americans identifying as Catholic. Across many of the country’s other most-practiced religions, stances on women as leaders vary widely. The largest mainline Protestant denominations generally ordain female clergy; the largest evangelical denominations generally do not.
Most of this data comes from the Pew Research Center. All of these are generalizations — in almost every denomination, some churches differ.
Southern Baptist Convention (evangelical, 5 percent of Americans): no
United Methodist Church (mainline Protestant, 3.6 percent): yes
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, 1.6 percent): no
American Baptist Churches (mainline Protestant, 1.5 percent): yes
National Baptist Convention (historically black Protestant, 1.4 percent): yes
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (mainline Protestant, 1.4 percent): yes
Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod (evangelical, 1.1 percent): no
Episcopal Church (mainline Protestant, 0.9 percent): yes
Presbyterian Church USA (mainline Protestant, 0.9 percent): yes
Presbyterian Church in America (evangelical, 0.4 percent): no
Jewish (1.9 percent): The Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist denominations ordain female clergy; Orthodox Jews largely do not.
Muslim (0.9 percent): no
Buddhist (0.7 percent): yes