Often seen as wanting to overturn the conservative thrust of recent pontificates, Francis has shown himself to be squarely on the side of Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI when it comes to women's ordination.
"The final word is clear," he said Tuesday when asked about women's ordination during an in-flight press conference returning from Sweden, "it was said by St John Paul II and this remains."
"Forever?" the journalist asked. "Never, ever?"
"If we carefully read the declaration of St. John Paul II it goes in that direction, yes," Francis replied.