(USA Today) Pope Francis reiterated the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests, saying the decision is “definitive” although he would like women to have more leadership roles in administrative and pastoral activities.
Speaking to reporters Sunday night while flying home from a week-long visit to Brazil, Francis said “the Church has spoken and says no â€¦ that door is closed.”
It was the first time Francis — the first non-European pope elected in 1,300 years — had spoken publicly on women in the priesthood. He said women have a special mission in the Church as “first witnesses” of Christ’s resurrection.
The Roman Catholic Church’s all-male priesthood has been under attack for years, particularly as Protestant denominations have begun ordaining women.
While maintaining the Church’s long-standing stance on women priests, Pope Francis reached out to the gay community, saying he wouldn’t judge gay priests and that gay clergymen should be forgiven.
“If someone is gay, who searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?” he said Monday. [More]