Pope Francis: "Women will never become priests in the Catholic C - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Pope Francis: "Women will never become priests in the Catholic Church"

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Pope Francis says the ban on women becoming priests in the Roman Catholic Church will be in place forever.

While on a plane returning to Rome, a reporter noted 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.

"St. Pope John Paul II had the last clear word on this and it stands, this stands," Francis 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."

The Catholic Church teaches that women cannot be ordained priests because Jesus willingly chose only men as his apostles.

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