In a news conference on Tuesday aboard a papal flight from Sweden back to Rome, Pope Francis declared that the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that women cannot be ordained as priests is likely to remain in place forever.
Citing an apostolic letter written by Pope John Paul II which said that the prospect of women entering into the priesthood was not possible because Jesus only chose men as apostles, the Pontiff declared “It was given by St. John Paul II, and this remains.”
Nonetheless, the pope emphasized the importance of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the church, adding that “women can do many other things better than men.”
Although the Pope has come under harsh criticism for not allowing women to become priests, his creation of a commission in May to explore whether they should be allowed to serve as deacons has led to questions concerning his intentions.
Sources: NYT & TIME