In a wide-ranging interview with American journalist Philip Pullella of Reuters News Agency at the Vatican June 17, Pope Francis reiterated that women would not be ordained as priests.
He cited the issue as one of dogma that John Paul II had “closed the door on” and that he was “not going to go back on that.”
However, he said there should be more women in theÂ Roman Curia, the central government of the Church within the Holy See through which the pope governs and whose members Francis had harsh words for in 2014.
“Women have an ability to understand things, they have a different vision of things,” the 81-year-old pontiff told Reuters.
In a story about the interview from the Catholic News Agency, Francis is quoted as saying women are better managers of conflict and this he thinks “would be so also in the Curia if there were more women.”
“I don’t have any problem naming a woman as the head of a dicastery (department within the Curia), if the dicastery doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Francis, referring to the fact some departments are required to be headed by a priest or bishop.
In 2016,Â Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin floated the idea a woman could become the Vatican’s Secretary of State, a position he currently holds. The Secretariat for the Economy has also been cited as another position not tied to the sacraments or priesthood.
Francis said some have told him that adding more women would result in more gossip, but Francis is quoted as saying “men are also gossipers.”
In 2014, he told members of the Curia that they were guilty, among other practices, of the “terrorism of gossip.” He called this “the sickness of cowardly people who, not having the courage to speak directly, talk behind people’s backs.”
In 2017, Francis broke with tradition in naming two women as consultants to Vatican congregations that constitute the highest department levels within the Curia.
This spring, Francis named three women as consultants to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was the first-time women or laity were named to the CDF, the most important of the nine Vatican congregations of the Curia as its role is to defend Church traditions.
According to the National Catholic Reporter, the percentage of women employed in the office governing the Vatican City State in 2015 was 19 percent; the percentage of female staff at the Holy See, 18 percent.
In the interview with Reuters, during which he made his remarks critical of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, Francis also said he might make some changes to the group of cardinals known as the C-9 who have been advising him for five years.
Australian Cardinal George Pell, a member who had been appointed to head the economic secretariat at the Vatican, has been ordered to stand trial in Australia on sexual abuse charges there that he has denied.
Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, also a member, has been accused by victims of clerical sexual abuse in Chile of covering up such abuse.
He is in his 80s and has denied any wrongdoing.
All 34 of Chile’s bishops recently submitted their resignations to an irate Francis who felt their handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal there misled him and further harmed victims, and he has accepted three of them, including two from bishops who had reached the mandatory age of 75 for submitting a resignation.
Asked in the Reuters interview if he would accept more, Francis said, “I still have to accept the resignations of two (bishops) who have exceeded the age limit. But maybe there’s someone else whose resignation I will accept. In one case, I asked that he be given the accusations in order to give him the possibility to defend himself against the accusations and then we will see.”