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Pope Francis speaks with Norah O’Donnell in the CBS 60 Minutes interview (CNS/Adam Verdugo, CBS)

Pope Francis expressed firm opposition to the idea of ordaining Catholic women as deacons in a new television interview, raising doubts about the possibility that the ongoing three-year synodal process could move forward on the issue. Source: NCR Online and Crux.

In an hour-long special aired on the US CBS network’s 60 Minutes program on Monday, Francis was asked by interviewer Norah O’Donnell specifically about the issue of women deacons.

“I understand you have said no women as priests, but you are studying the idea of women as deacons,” O’Donnell asked Francis. “Is that something you’re open to?”

“If it is deacons with Holy Orders, no,” replied the Pope, referencing the sacrament by which deacons, priests and bishops are ordained to their respective ministries.

“But women have always had, I would say, the function of deaconesses without being deacons, right?” Francis continued. “Women are of great service as women, not as ministers, as ministers in this regard, within the Holy Orders.”

The Pope’s remarks, which came in an April 24 interview that was aired in two segments over the last month and in full on Monday, are among the most definitive he has offered on the matter, at least on the public record.

“For a little girl growing up Catholic today, will she ever have the opportunity to be a deacon and participate as a clergy member in the church?” O’Donnell asked the pontiff.

“No,” he bluntly replied. 

Among other issues Francis discussed in the wide-ranging interview are clergy sexual abuse, same-sex blessings, migration, the environment and his health.

Clerical abuse “cannot be tolerated,” Francis said.

“When there is a case of a religious man or woman who abuses, the full force of the law falls upon them. In this there has been a great deal of progress,” he said.

The Pope said the Church “must continue to do more”.

“Unfortunately, the tragedy of the abuses is enormous. And against this, an upright conscience and not only to not permit it but to put in place the conditions so that it does not happen,” he said.


Pope Francis voices firm opposition to women deacons in CBS interview (By Christopher White, NCR Online)

Pope Francis says clerical abuse ‘cannot be tolerated’ in ‘60 Minutes’ interview (Crux)