The Amazon Synod has approved their final document, calling for the ordination of married men as priests and requesting a female diaconate.

Last Saturday, the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region at the Vatican concluded after holding their 16th and final session. After three works of work, 185 voting members approved the synod’s final document, coming in at 33 pages.

The document calls for the ordination of viri probati, married men of proven virtue, in response to the lack of priests in the region.

“Sometimes it takes not just months but even several years before a priest can return to a community to celebrate the Eucharist, offer the sacrament of reconciliation or anoint the sick in the community.”

While appreciating celibacy “as a gift of God,” celibacy is a “discipline” not required by the priesthood, saying “legitimate diversity does not harm the communion and unity of the Church, but expresses and serves it.” They called to:

“ordain as priest suitable and esteemed men of the community, who have a legitimately constituted and stable family, to sustain the life of the Christian community.”

The document linked the proposal to “the most remote areas of the Amazon,” but also recognized some members of the synod “were in favor of a more universal approach to the subject.”

The document also called for new ministerial roles for women in the Amazon region, calling for “the institution of a ministry for women’s leadership of the community” to be created because the “majority of Catholic communities are led by women.”

“In a large number of these consultations, the permanent diaconate for women was requested.”

In his address to close the synod, Pope Francis said he would consider reopening the commission that studied the possibility of a female diaconate.

“I am going to take up the challenge that you have put forward, that women be heard.”

The final document of a synod has no authority, instead meant to serve as advice for the pope. Typically a pope will issue a binding post-synodal exhortation on which proposals will be implemented. Pope Francis said he hopes to do so before the end of the year, time permitting. Paulo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications confirmed that Pope Francis will do so “within a relatively short period of time.”

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