"But when he was asked and then pressed on the matter by a Swedish journalist during a press conference onboard the papal plane, Francis suggested the ban would be eternal.
“Saint Pope John Paul II had the last clear word on this and it stands, this stands,” Francis said in his initial response, referring to a 1994 document stating that women could never join the priesthood.
“But for ever, for ever? Never, never?” the reporter asked in a follow-up question, as the papal delegation flew back to Rome from Sweden on Tuesday.
Francis replied: “If we read carefully the declaration by St John Paul II, it is going in that direction.”