In a conversation with CBS News, Pope Francis said women cannot be ordained as deacons.

Airing Monday night in the United States, “Pope Francis: The First” is an extended version of the interview featured on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.

CBS journalist Norah O’Donnell asked the pontiff if women will ever have “the opportunity to be a deacon and participate as a clergy member in the church?”

Francis answered quickly, “No.”

When pressed, he explained: “If it is deacons with Holy Orders, no. But women have always had, I would say, the function of deaconesses without being deacons, right? Women are of great service as women, not as ministers, as ministers in this regard, within the Holy Orders.”

This is contrary to statement in February by Spanish nun and theologian Linda Pocher, who was one of three women who addressed the most recent meeting of the pope’s Council of Cardinals.

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“The diaconate was also discussed. We know that the pope is very much in favor of the female diaconate, but he is still trying to understand how to put it into practice,” Pocher told Europa Press.

However, Francis told CBS News women “are the ones who move changes forward, all sorts of changes.”

“They are braver than the men,” he continued.

“They know how best to protect life. Women are masterful custodians of life. Women are great. They are very great. And making space in the Church for women does not mean giving them a ministry, no. The Church is a mother, and women in the Church are the ones who help foster that motherliness. Don’t forget that the ones who never abandoned Jesus were the women. The men all fled,” the pope said.

O’Donnell then brought up the fact Francis blessed and kissed the feet of  female prisoners, and that many people interpreted that as a message Francis was trying to send about a change of the role of women in the Church.

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“It is true, this time it was only women because it was a women’s jail. And the message is that men and women, we are all children of God,” the pope answered.

“That men and women we are all apostles and we all can lead. Let us not forget that the bravest apostles, the most courageous, were the women: Mary Magdalene, Mary Salomeì, Mary of Santiago. They stayed with Jesus to the very end,” he said.

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The CBS journalist then asked why the pope “decided to allow Catholic priests to bless same-sex couples.”

Francis quickly denied this interpretation.

“No, what I allowed was not to bless the union. That cannot be done because that is not… that is not the sacrament. I cannot. The Lord made it that way. But to bless each person, yes. The blessing is for EVERYONE. For everyone,” the pope said.