Pope Francis refuses to allow married priests in Amazon

WION Web Team Rome, Italy Feb 13, 2020, 08.39 AM(IST)

File photo of Pope Francis. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The bishops backed the measure last year, but the decision needed the Pope's approval for implementation.

In a significant decision, Pope Francis has dismissed the proposal to allow married priests in the Amazon region.

Also read: Pope voices 'outrage' over Amazon basin exploitation

The proposal to allow married priests was put forward by Latin American bishops last year to address the shortage of Catholic priests in the Amazon region.

The bishops backed the measure last year, but the decision needed the Pope's approval for implementation. Last year, Pope Francis had called for "bold proposals" to meet the spiritual needs of Catholics in the Amazon.

But in the new papal document released today, Pope Francis has ignored the boldest proposal "allowing married priests".

Pope's highly anticipated document on the Amazon region, Querida Amazonia which means beloved Amazon is finally out and it focuses mostly on cultural and environmental issues.

The lack of an opening for married priests, or women deacons, is expected to disappoint the Pope's liberal supporters, particularly in the American and European continent.

Instead of structural reforms, the amazon document is filled with flowery language, including the Pope's prose poem of his "dreams" for the Amazon.

Catholic priests are required to abide by the rule of celibacy upon ordination. Celibacy is seen as the devotion of one's life to God.
Another rejected bold proposal from the synod participants was allowing women to be ordained as deacons.

This, too, would have been a revolutionary change for the Catholic church. Deacons are considered part of ordained ministry, much like priests.

If the Pope had allowed women to be ordained deacons, it would be one step closer to ordaining them as priests.

Instead, Francis has called this suggestion "narrow" and one that would "clericalise" women by trying to give them the same function as men instead of recognizing their specific female gifts.