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PHOTO: Pope Francis Says Women Will Never Become Priests In The Catholic Church

Pope Francis has said he believes the Roman Catholic Church's ban on women becoming priests will be in place forever, in some of his most definitive remarks on the issue.

He was speaking aboard a plane taking him back to Rome from Sweden, in the freewheeling news conference with reporters that has become a tradition of his return flights from trips abroad.
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.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.

In August, Francis set up a commission to study the role of women deacons in early Christianity, raising hopes among equality campaigners that women could one day have a greater say in the 1.2 billion-member Church.

Deacons, like priests, are ordained ministers and must be men. They 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 baptise and conduct wake and funeral services.
The Church barred women from becoming deacons centuries ago.
Scholars debate the precise role of women deacons in the early Church. Some say they were ordained to minister only to other women, for instance in baptismal immersion rites. Others believe they were on a par with male deacons.

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