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Pope Francis on Women Priests: Probably Never Going to Happen

Image: Pope Francis on Women Priests: Probably Never Going to Happen

Pope Francis laughs as he talks with journalists on flight. (ETTORE FERRARI/AFP/Getty Images)
 

By    |   Thursday, 03 Nov 2016 05:49 AM

Pope Francis has closed the door on ordaining women priests, telling a journalist on a papal flight back from Sweden on Tuesday that he believed it will never happen.

Francis was returning from a two-day visit to Sweden where, it was pointed out to him,  he was welcomed by the Lutheran church's female Archbishop Antje Jackelen, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

"On the ordination of women in the Catholic church, the last word is clear," Francis responded to a question about women being ordained in the future, referring to Pope John Paul II's 1994 apostolic letter banning the practice. "It was given by St. John Paul II and this remains."

A journalist then pressed Francis, said the Reporter. "But really forever? Never?"

"If we read carefully the declaration made by St. John Paul II, it goes in that direction," Francis answered.

The Women's Ordination Conference, an organization that advocates for female priesthood, said it was "profoundly disappointed" by the comments, calling Pope John Paul II document "outdated, fallible and painful," reported Reuters.

"Several times Pope Francis has been asked by journalists aboard the papal plane regarding women's priestly ordination," the organization said. "The reason this question cannot be suppressed is because the exclusion of women defies the example of Jesus, who welcomed men and women equally."

Francis recently created a commission to study the historic use of women as deacons in the church, at the request of the Rome-based umbrella group of women religious around the world, the International Union of Superiors General, said the Reporter.

Reuters said deacons, like priests, are ordained ministers and must also be men. Deacons cannot celebrate Mass, the Catholic Church's central rite, but they are allowed to preach and teach in the name of the church, and to baptize and conduct wake and funeral services.

Religious scholars have debated the precise role of women deacons in the early church, with some saying they were ordained to minister only to other women while others have claimed that they were on par with male deacons.

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Pope Francis has closed the door on ordaining women priests, telling a journalist on a papal flight back from Sweden on Tuesday that he believed it will never happen.
pope francis, women, priests, never
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2016-49-03
Thursday, 03 Nov 2016 05:49 AM
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