While Pope Francis was traveling from Rome from Sweden, he met with Lutheran Archbishop Antje Jackelen of Uppsala, a woman and the primate of the Church of Sweden.
On the plane, a Swedish journalist referenced the archbishop and asked the pope whether women might be able to serve as Catholic priests in coming decades. “On the ordination of women in the Catholic church, the last word is clear,” Francis said, citing Pope John Paul II’s 1994 letter banning women from the priesthood. “It was given by St. John Paul II and this remains.” Francis had made a statement before in 2013 declaring that women could never become priests.
For some traditional Catholics, these statements are likely a relief, yet 6 in 10 American Catholics think the church should allow women to become priests, according to a 2015 Pew Survey. This came to me as no surprise after reading Chaves’ book “American Religion.” In it, he describes that there is a decline of belief in the Bible’s literal truth. He also says that no traditional religious belief or practice has increased in recent decades. The belief that all priests must be men is a very traditional and literal view of Christianity, yet more people now a days believe in the “modern” view that women are capable of being priests.