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Catholic bishops approve proposal allowing some married men to become ordained priests

4 years 8 months 2 weeks ago Saturday, October 26 2019 Oct 26, 2019 October 26, 2019 7:54 PM October 26, 2019 in News
Source: CNN
Pope Francis attends final session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican. Photo: NCR/Paul Haring

On Saturday, Catholic bishops approved a proposal that would allow some married men to become ordained as priests in the Amazon region.

According to CNN, the proposal, which must still be approved by Pope Francis, passed by a vote of 128-41 and would only apply to certain churches in the Amazon region.

Affected churches would be given special consideration due to a shortage of priests in the area. The proposal, known as 'viri probati' would allow older male deacons who have stable families and the respect of their communities to be ordained as priests. 

Allowing married men to become priests is not the same thing as allowing priests to marry, so the change would not change the rule of celibacy for Catholic priests.

The proposal to ordain married men was one of the most controversial recommendations voted on Saturday evening. It marked the conclusion of a three-week-long Vatican meeting that centered around discussion of environmental and religious issues affecting the Amazon as well as a brief discussion on whether or not women can be ordained as Catholic deacons.

Though an historic milestone, this vote regarding the Amazon's churches is not the final word on the Catholic Church's ministry in the South American region. 

The proposal must still be approved by Pope Francis and in his closing remarks at the end of the meeting, Francis shared his plans to pen a document on the issue by the end of next year. According to The National Catholic Reporter, his document will likely take the form of an apostolic exhortation. 

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