Pope Francis cracked a joke about women. The head of the Catholic Church proved that he has a sense of humour before comparing women to housekeepers.
In an interview with the Vatican correspondent from Rome Daily II Messaggero, Franca Giansoldati, the pontiff was asked to comment on the underlying misogyny in the Catholic Church, which Francis answered at first with a joke.
“The fact is that woman was taken from a rib,” he said in Italian, as translated by The Guardian.
Giansoldati wrote that the pope then laughed “heartily” over what he said, explaining. “I’m joking. That was a joke.”
He further said, “The issue of women needs to be gone into in more depth, otherwise you can’t understand the church itself.”
But when asked if he can see a woman appointed to head a Vatican department in the future, the 77-year-old pope just replied, “Well, priests often end up under the sway of their housekeepers.”
He has praised women in the same interview, though, calling them “the most beautiful thing God has made.”
He added, “Theology cannot be done without his feminine touch.”
Francis, who is often called progressive because of his more tolerant views, has also lashed out at Rome’s “moral decay.”
“The Eternal City, which should be a beacon to the world, is a mirror of the moral decay of society,” he said, referring to the city’s political corruption, joblessness and child prostitution among others.
Meanwhile, the Catholic leader has sparked health decline rumours after he has cancelled four appointments in the past seven months.
He called in sick in December when he was supposed to meet with Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan and the World Expo organisers.
He also cancelled another appointment, a visit to the major seminary in Rome, in May, and a scheduled visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Divine Love in Rome in May.
And in June, Francis has cancelled three appointments for the month, with the Vatican explaining that the cancellations were caused by “minor sudden indisposition.”