Pope Francis, addressing sexual abuse scandals and calls for women priests, said on Tuesday that for its own good the Roman Catholic Church had to acknowledge its history of male authoritarianism and sexual abuse of women.
But he also said in a major document that the church “could not agree with everything some feminist groups propose,” a clear reference to the Church’s ban on a female priesthood.
The pope is grappling with criticism over the Church’s response to a decades-long sexual abuse crisis that has gravely damaged its standing around the globe.
Pope Francis made his comment in a 50-page document known as an “Apostolic Exhortation,” his reflections on the workings of a month-long meeting of bishops that took place last October on the role of young people in the 1.3 billion-member Church.
In the document, called “Christ is Alive,” Francis also urged young people not to be disillusioned by the Church’s clergy sexual abuse scandal but to work with the overwhelming majority of priests and other members of the clergy who were faithful to their vocation.