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Pope addresses the Amazon’s need for priests

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 2/12/20, 12:01 pm

Pope Francis on Wednesday rejected a push to ordain married men in the Amazon region of South America to compensate for a shortage of priests. In a papal document titled Beloved Amazon, the Roman Catholic leader did not mention the recommendation from Amazonian bishops. He instead urged them to pray for more people to become priests and to send missionaries to the region.

What sparked the debate? In October 2019, 184 bishops met with Francis at the Vatican to discuss the growth of the church in the Amazon, where many people live in isolated communities. Some communities only see a priest once every few months or years. Since a priest must administer the sacrament of Holy Communion, Catholics in the region rarely get to participate in the religious rite. The pope’s stance is likely to rile progressives, who had hoped he would open the door for married men to serve as priests and women to become deacons.

Dig deeper: Read June Cheng’s journal on the Vatican’s deal with Communist China.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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