VATICAN CITY - The Catholic Church should have more women at all levels of administration, according to a senior cardinal who is close to Pope Francis.
"I think women should be present at all levels, even in positions of full responsibility," German cardinal Walter Kasper told the newspaper of Italian bishops Avvenire.
"A Church with no women is like a mutilated body," he added.
Last month Francis asked Kasper, who is a respected theologian, to give the introductory lecture at a meeting of cardinals that debated controversial family issues, such as the role of women in the church and its approach towards divorcees.
Those topics are at the centre of a Synod -- a special meeting of bishops from all around the world -- scheduled for October at the Vatican.
There is no suggestion that under the reforms the pope is considering, women could be ordained.
However, Kasper said women could chair Pontifical Councils -- quasi-ministerial agencies within the Roman Curia -- and hold deputy positions in the Congregations, the Curia's highest-ranking departments that would continue to be led by senior churchmen.
Women could also look after the Vatican's financial and administrative matters and preside over its tribunals, Kasper suggested.