Pan-Amazon Synod Chooses Married Priests over Women’s Ordination

Pope Francis presides the Holy Mass for the closing of the special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region in Saint Peters Basilica at the Vatican City, 27 October 2019. ANSA/GIUSEPPE LAMI (ANSA via AP)

Pope Francis presides the Holy Mass for the closing of the special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region in Saint Peters Basilica at the Vatican City, 27 October 2019. ANSA/GIUSEPPE LAMI (ANSA via AP)

Bishops from the Amazon region gathered for an unprecedented three-week synod this fall, during which discussions about ordaining married men in remote regions and expanding the role of women in ministerial roles took center stage. The synod voted 128-41 to allow men with “a legitimately constituted and stable family” to be ordained to perform the sacraments in remote areas of the Amazon. Members of the synod considered the question of female deacons, but rather than taking it up directly, they voted 137-30 to revisit the unreleased findings of a commission convened by Pope Francis to study the role of women in the early church. No women were permitted to vote on any of the proposals. Kate McElwee, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference, marched in protest with other Catholic women activists to St. Peter’s Basilica, saying that a vote in the synod for women “would be a first, and a huge change.” Miriam Duignan, of the Women’s Ordination Worldwide campaign, said that “the time has come” for women deacons, and that she hopes any progress in the Amazon will mean change for women in the church worldwide.

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