Worshippers attend a prayer ceremony known as the "celebration of the word" led by Antelmo Pereira at the Catholic church in Santa Rosa, Brazil, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. In remote Amazonian communities that are only accessible by boat, villagers can go for months without sacraments that only priests are allowed to deliver - including Mass and confessions, and the faithful have to depend on missionaries such as Pereira that are only allowed to lead prayer ceremonies. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

Catholic bishops consider married priests, face opposition

October 03, 2019 - 9:23 am

SANTA ROSA, Brazil (AP) — More than 100 bishops from South American countries are convening Sunday in Rome to address concerns in the Amazon region, especially for indigenous people.

One item on the synod’s agenda is a proposal to study the possibility of priestly ordination for married men who have good standing in their communities and are preferably of indigenous origin.

The bishops are considering the possibility because priest shortages have left villagers in remote areas of the Amazon without priests and unable to participate regularly in sacraments, including communion and confessions.

Proposal critics include one of Pope Francis’ top advisers at the Vatican. They argue that the church would be abandoning its own beliefs if it begins to ordain married men to make up for priest shortages.