The Church has "no authority" to ordain women, Pope Benedict reiterated in the new book featuring interviews with him, reports the Catholic News Service. He rejected the idea that the rule was formed only because the church originated in a patriarchal society.
"The church has 'no authority' to ordain women. The point is not that we are saying we don't want to, but that we can't," he said. This requires obedience by Catholics today, he added.
"This obedience may be arduous in today's situation, but it is important precisely for the church to show that we are not a regime based on arbitrary rule. We cannot do what we want," the pope said.
In the book, the pope responded to the argument that ordination was restricted to men only because priestesses would have been unthinkable 2,000 years ago.
"That is nonsense, since the world was full of priestesses at the time," the pope answered. "All religions had their priestesses, and the astonishing thing was actually that they were absent from the community of Jesus Christ."
It is not discrimination, he said, because: "Women have so eminent a significance that in many respects they shape the image of the church more than men do," noting famous religious figures such as Mother Teresa.
Pope says ordaining women is not the church's choice to make (Catholic News Service)
Screenshot from from Rome Reports video on YouTube