Pope Francis has left the door open to the possibility of married priests and female deacons in the Catholic Church as he closed the three-week synod with Amazonian clergy, with a majority of votes in favor of these proposals.
Pope Francis Challenges the Traditionalists
Many traditionalists are appalled at some of the changes Pope Francis has been trying to make in the church. However, voting showed that the majority of the clergy were strongly in support of the Pope’s progressive proposals.
“In the synod, we asked it of ourselves, desiring to open new roads for the proclamation of the Gospel,” Pope Francis said to the crowd in St. Peter’s Square.
At the gathering of 181 bishops during the three-week synod with Amazonian clergy, they voted on 120 recommendations that were presented to the Pope.
Married Priests? It Was Normal in the Early Church
Believe it or not, the idea of married priests isn’t a new one. Nearly all of the first apostles of Christ were married men. Married priests were also allowed during the first few centuries of the church.
Not only that, but the Vatican already allows married men to become priests in the Eastern Rite churches, as well as allowing married Anglican priests to remain priests when they join the Roman Catholic Church.
Greater Roles for Women? It Was Part of the Early Church, Too.
Women were involved in the early days of the church. One of the roles now under consideration is allowing women to become deacons in the Catholic Church.
During the synod, the recommendation to re-examine female deacons received a vote of 137 in favor and 30 opposed.
“We still have not grasped the significance of women in the Church, Francis said, “their role must go well beyond questions of function.”
However, while Francis is open to the possibility of women becoming deacons in the church, he said the “door is closed” to the question of women in the role of the priesthood.