Pope Francis is liberal and orthodox. He certainly believes and teaches the past infallible teaching of the Magisterium, that Christ did not give the Church the authority to ordain women to the priesthood.
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful. (Pope John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, n. 4)
However, the dogma specifies “priestly ordination”. The question is open as to whether or not the Church possesses the authority to ordain women to the deaconate. For the priest stands in persona Christi, but the deacon does not. The deacon can baptize and can officiate at a wedding; but he has no authority over other Sacraments. In an extraordinary circumstance, a layperson can baptize or officiate at a wedding. So the deacon does not dispense any Sacrament that cannot be dispensed by a layperson. The role of a deacon is very different from the roles of priests and Bishops.
Some conservative Catholics claim that a woman cannot be ordained because a female is not the “valid matter” for that Sacrament. And if this were true, then she could not be ordained to any degree. But the Magisterium has never taught this idea. The Magisterium has an infallible teaching on the ordination of women to the priesthood, and it does not mention such a claim at all. (And this is an example of a continuing problem in the Church, that of persons who teach as dogma or doctrine ideas not found in Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium.) The Magisterium only says that the Church lacks the authority to ordain women to the priesthood; women as valid matter is not at all a part of that teaching.
So Pope Francis or a future Pope might decide that the Church has the authority to ordain women deacons, and he might permit that ordination by changing Canon Law. Currently, a woman cannot be validly ordained to any degree (diaconal, sacerdotal, or episcopal). But that could change.
Even the very conservative Fr. Z. has in the past admitted that the Magisterium has not yet definitively decided the question of women’s ordination to the deaconate, though you can’t always tell from his posts.
Then, as I said in yesterday’s post, the wheat will be separated from the chaff. Many conservative Catholics will accuse the Pope of heresy, if he ordains women deacons. For they treat their own understanding of Catholicism as if it were entirely dogmatic. But the truly faithful will accept this belief and practice, if indeed it is the teaching and decision of Pope Francis or a future Pope (or Ecumenical Council).