The Catholic Church’s insistence that it cannot ordain women to the priesthood and episcopacy is a teaching likely to last forever, Pope Francis said.
After being hosted by the Lutheran Church of Sweden, which is led by Archbishop Antje Jackelen of Uppsala, the nation’s first woman primate, Pope Francis was asked if the Catholic Church might one day have women priests and bishops.
As he has done in the past, the pope responded that the question was settled in 1994 by St John Paul II, who taught that because Jesus chose only men as his apostles, the ordination of women in the Catholic Church is not possible.
He was asked, “Really? Never?” And he responded, “If one carefully reads the declaration of St John Paul, it goes in that direction, yes.”
In one of his briefest airborne news conferences, Pope Francis spent just over 40 minutes with reporters on 1st November and answered six questions ranging from Sweden’s newly restrictive immigration policy to the role of women in the Church. He also was asked about his experience with charismatics and Pentecostals, the roots of his concern about human trafficking, secularisation in Europe and his meeting in late October with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Picture: Pope Francis answers questions from journalists aboard his flight from Malmo, Sweden, to Rome on 1st November. At left is Fr Mauricio Rueda Beltz, papal trip planner; at right is Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).