March 26th, 2014
03:50 PM ET

Jimmy Carter: Pope Francis agrees women should have enhanced role in the Catholic church

In an interview with CNN's Erin Burnett, former President Jimmy Carter talks about his letter to Pope Francis. In it, Carter called on the pontiff to support efforts to stop abuse against women.

"I asked him to join with me in doing some of these things to prevent slavery, and to prevent killings, and to prevent unnecessary prostitution, and to prevent things of that kind," Carter said.

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The former president also said he didn't ask the Pope to change the Catholic Church's policy on female priest, which he supports.

"[The Pope] said the role of women within the Catholic Church should be enhanced in the future," Carter said.

ERIN BURNETT: A major stop on the President’s trip is of course meeting with the Pope. The two most powerful men in the world in some ways. Meeting, for the first time. And in your new book, “A Call to Action: Women, religion, violence and power” you obviously write about women’s issues which is a big issue for the Catholic church and for this pope. You have written the Pope a letter. I have seen you reference to it. What did it say? An I know you’re worried about NSA snooping so did you hand write it? I mean, what was in this letter?

JIMMY CARTER: I typed it myself and I mailed it to him, through his representative in Washington, and it pointed out the basic elements that I described in my book- the horrible abuse of women and girls around the world, I asked him to join with me in doing some of these things to prevent slavery, and to prevent killings, and to prevent unnecessary prostitution, and to prevent things of that kind. And the killing of little girl babies, they are about 160 million little girls who have been killed by their parents either before or after birth when they knew they were going to be a girl. And those are the kind of things that I described to him and asked him to help me. I didn’t ask him to change the Catholic church’s policy on women priests although I would like very much to see women be priests in the Catholic church and also deacons. And he responded very nicely to me and he said that he agreed with me and the role of women within the Catholic church should be enhanced in the future.

ERIN BURNETT: So he said that. He wasn’t clear on what either but he did say that within the church the role of women needs to…

JIMMY CARTER: It’ s not proper for the Pope to tell a Southern Baptist what he is going to do with the church in the future. But I think he was encouraging. And I think last week he showed this because he appointed an eight person committee to minimize abuse of children by priests. And four of those members of the committee were women. (16:32:57) One of them was a woman who was abused by a priest when she was a little girl in the convent. So I think this is tangible evidence that he what he told me in the letter might be true.

Filed under: News • Pope Francis • Religion
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