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Pope Francis Refuses To Allow Married Priests.

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Pope Francis Refuses To Allow Married Priests.

CNN)Last year, Pope Francis called for “bold proposals” to meet the spiritual needs of Catholics in the Amazon, a vast region with a scarcity of clerics.

But in a papal document released Wednesday, Francis ignored the boldest one: allowing married priests.

Instead, Francis’ highly anticipated document on the Amazon region, Querida Amazonia (Beloved Amazon) focuses mostly on cultural and environmental issues. Francis spices the 32-page document with plenty of poetry, but offers few, if any, pragmatic changes for the Church.

The lack of an opening for married priests, or women deacons, is expected to disappoint the Pope’s liberal supporters, particularly in the Americas and Europe.

“People are starting to adjust their expectations,” said Massimo Faggioli, a church historian at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. “The major reforms they were expecting of him may never come.”

American bishops who met with Pope Francis this week got the impression that he personally opposes the idea of married priests, saying that people who had pushed for the reform would likely be disappointed, Catholic News Service reported.

(The Catholic Church already allows some married priests who have converted from other Christian traditions.)

Instead of structural reforms, the 32-page document released Wednesday, known as an Apostolic Exhortation, is filled with flowery language, including the Pope’s prose poem of his “dreams” for the Amazon.

“I dream of an Amazon region that fights for the rights of the poor…” the Pope begins. He then devotes the first three chapters of the four-chapter document to his social, cultural and ecological ideas, which call for respect for the people, land and culture of the Amazon.

The final chapter, on the Catholic Church’s role in the Amazon, outlines the spiritual needs of the 32 million people in the region. But Francis stops well short of endorsing some of the changes requested by the Amazon’s bishops in order to meet those needs.




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