POPE Francis believes that women will forever be banned from becoming priests, saying the the Roman Catholic Church's position on the issue will never change.
The Pope was speaking to reporters while on a plane travelling from Sweden to Rome.
A Swedish female reporter questioned whether the Catholic Church would allow women to be ordained as ministers in the future, given the head of the Lutheran Church who greeted him in Sweden was a woman.
"St. Pope John Paul II had the last clear word on this and it stands, this stands," Francis said.
In 1994, Pope John Paul made clear that females in the priesthood was out of the question, something that is infallible in the Catholic tradition.
He declared at the time, "that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women".
The Swedish reporter asked, "But forever, forever? Never, never?"
The Pope responded: "If we read carefully the declaration by St. John Paul II, it is going in that direction".
One of the reasons for women not being allowed into the priesthood is that only men were named among the apostles of Jesus.