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Cardinal at Vatican presser: Question on women deacons, married priests not resolved

Cardinal at Vatican presser: Question on women deacons, married priests not resolved”

While apologising for "crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America", Francis acknowledged the challenges faced by the Church in remote areas of the Amazon today and urged bishops to encourage young missionaries to preach there.

Many Catholic church officials appear to be strongly against the proposal.

Traditionalists fear that any opening could eventually lead to the complete abolition of the celibacy rule for priests, which is not part of church dogma but has been in place since the Middle Ages.

Pope Francis greets people during the weekly general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.

Pope Francis has dismissed a proposal to allow married men to become priests in the Amazon, where there is a severe shortage of Roman Catholic clergy.

But there was no mention of priestly marriage, a controversial suggestion made by Amazon bishops last October as a way to increase the number of priests who could perform Mass in remote areas.

The issue of married priests has been a focus of deep divisions within the Church, and Vatican sources say it is now likely to languish for the rest of Pope Francis's papacy.

Vatican officials said the pope completed the document on December 27, before the book controversy, and handed it in for translations.

Deacons, like priests, are ordained ministers.

Fr Paddy Byrne said there is a community of people in the Amazon "that are hungry for faith" and there now seems to be a self-imposed starvation by alienating women and men from administering the eucharist for them.

"Priests are necessary, but this does not mean that permanent deacons (of whom there should be many more in the Amazon region), religious women and lay persons can not regularly assume important responsibilities for the growth of communities, and perform those functions ever more effectively with the aid of a suitable accompaniment". He did not mention the request and did not make a change to the almost 900-year-old rule that priests can not marry.

Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J., special secretary to the Amazon synod, joins Colleen Dulle, host of the Inside the Vatican podcast, to discuss the document hours after Cardinal Czerny officially presented the document in the Vatican.

Pope Frances used the first three chapters of the document to restate his longstanding defence of the rights and legacies of indigenous people and the environment in the Amazon, which he said had to be protected.



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