Pope Francis says does not believe there will ever be women priests in the Roman Catholic Church and that it is not humane to close borders to refugees.
IN AIR (NOVEMBER 1, 2016) (REUTERS) Pope Francis said on Tuesday (November 1) he believes the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests is forever and will never be changed, in some of his most definitive remarks on the issue.
He was speaking aboard a plane taking him back to Rome from Sweden.
A Swedish female reporter noted that the head of the Lutheran Church who welcomed him in Sweden was a woman, and then asked if he thought the Catholic Church could allow women to be ordained as ministers in coming decades.
“Concerning the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, St. Pope John Paul II had the last clear word on this and it stands, this stands,” he said.
Francis was referring to a 1994 document by Pope John Paul that closed the door on a female priesthood. The Vatican says this teaching is an infallible part of Catholic tradition.
The reporter then pressed the pope, asking: “But forever, forever? Never, never?”
Francis responded: “If we read carefully the declaration by St. John Paul II, it is going in that direction.”
Francis has previously said that the door to women’s ordination is closed, but proponents of a female priesthood are hoping that a future pope might overturn the decision, particularly because of the shortage of priests around the world.
The Catholic Church teaches that women cannot be ordained priests because Jesus willingly chose only men as his apostles. Those calling for women priests say he was only following the norms of his time.
The pope also told journalists it was not “humane” to close borders to refugees and that countries taking in refugees also needed to organise adequate integration into communities.
Sweden took in 163,000 asylum seekers last year, more than any other European Union state relative to population. But the mood started to change last year, with many Swedes unnerved by reports of rising foreigner crime including gang activity in immigrant-heavy cities.