Catholic bishops called for ordination of married men as priests, a solution to address the shortage of clerics in the Amazon. It is a historical proposal.
Most of the 180 bishops from nine Amazon countries also called on the Vatican to reopen a debate on ordaining women as deacons, arguing that "it is urgent for the Church to promote and confer equitable ministries for men and women", according to the final document, quoted by the Associated Press.
The proposals were included in the final document approved this Saturday at the end of a three-week synod on the Amazon that Pope Francis convened in 2017 to draw attention to threats to the rainforest but also to improve priesthood. with indigenous peoples.
The Catholic Church, which encompasses nearly two dozen different rites, already allows married priests in Eastern Rite churches and in cases where previously married Anglican priests convert to the Church. If Francis accepts the proposal from the synod, however, it will be the beginning of a new era for the Latin-rite Catholic Church after more than a millennium.
The proposals adopted also call for the elaboration of a new "Amazonian rite" that reflects the spirituality, cultures and unique needs of the faithful of that region.
Francisco told the bishops at the end of the vote that he will reopen the work of a commission that studied the issue of women deacons in 2016. He also said that he envisages adopting the general recommendations of the bishops and preparing his own document before the end of the year.
Some more conservative and traditionalist church spokesmen have warned that any papal openness to married priests or deacon women will lead the church to ruin, accusing the synod organizers and the Pope himself of heresy for considering flexibility in binding priestly celibacy.
Expression of this "indignation" took the form of a robbery of three indigenous statues this week with a naked pregnant woman from a Vatican church meanwhile thrown into the Tiber.
The statues, which the conservatives said were pagan idols, were recovered unscathed by the Italian police. One of these statues was on display this Saturday when the bishops of the Synod voted the final document, approved paragraph by paragraph with a necessary two-thirds majority.
The most controversial proposals at the Synod concerned allowing married men to be ordained priests, a way to address the scarcity of priests in the region, which causes some more isolated Amazonian communities to pass months without a mass.
The paragraph with the proposal was the most contested in the vote, but nonetheless received the necessary majority of 128 in favor against 41 rejections.