Sunday, October 27, 2019

Roman Catholic bishops propose opening priesthood to married men

Roman Catholic bishops from across the Amazon recommended Saturday to allow married deacons to become priests -- a proposal intended to address a severe shortage in the region, but also one that breaks from centuries of church tradition.

The document by the Vatican gathering -- which needs to be affirmed by Pope Francis -- offers a significant shift in church views and could potentially signal a new strategy to modernize key tenets of Catholic tradition, such as priestly celibacy, as the church faces a worldwide decline in vocations.

The proposal, proponents say, would be narrowly applied to permit only selected men ordained as deacons to become priests. The gathering, however, stopped short of fully endorsing calls to allow women as deacons, an ecclesiastical position that can preside over some rites, such as witness marriages, but cannot celebrate Mass.