Pope Francis on Sunday opened a three-week meeting of bishops that is expected to include a contentious debate on ordaining married men to ease the Amazon region’s priest shortage.
The pope didn’t directly address the controversial topic during his sermon at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, but he did speak of the importance that church leaders not be bogged down by the “status quo.”
About 85 percent of the villages in the Amazon cannot celebrate mass every week because of the region’s shortage of priests. Allowing married “proven men” who are respected in the community to be ordained is a potential solution that will be discussed in the coming weeks of the meeting, called a synod.
Conservative opponents of the idea believe it could lead to the stripping of celibacy requirements across the entire Catholic Church.
Bishops at the synod will also discuss spreading the faith in the Amazon region, a greater role for women, and climate change, among other topics.
Synod participants vote on a final document, but the pope has the final say on what changes the church will adopt.
With Post Wires