Pope Francis May Reverse Celibacy Ban in The Amazon

Published October 27th, 2019 - 10:09 GMT
The Vatican has been hosting a three-week synod of church leadership from the Amazon region. 

Pope Francis is considering reversing a ban on celibacy in the priesthood in limited circumstances because of a chronic shortage of priests in the Amazon rain forest. 

A delegation of Roman Catholic bishops from Brazil lobbied the pontiff to allow a rule change in remote areas so the faithful can regularly attend Mass.  

The Vatican has been hosting a three-week synod of church leadership from the Amazon region. 

A vote at the end of the synod passed a vote to allow the ordination of married men by 128 in favour and 41 against. Pope Francis will consider it, along with many others on issues including the environment and the role of women, in a future document of his own.

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One of the most contentious items in the 120-paragraph final document from the synod, the proposal calls for married men who are already deacons in the Church and are proven leaders in their communities to be ordained as priests.

It said the ordination to the priesthood would have to be preceded by an 'adequate formation'. This solution to the shortage of priests, backed by many South American bishops, would allow Catholics in isolated areas to attend Mass and receive the sacraments more regularly.

At least 85 per cent of Amazon villages cannot attend Mass every week and some cannot do so for years.

Conservatives oppose the change, fearing it would be a slippery slope leading to a married priesthood throughout the 1.3 billion member Church. 

The document said that some bishops in the synod thought the issue of a married priesthood should be discussed on a universal basis.

This article has been adapted from its original source.    

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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