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  • Francis also advanced that he will provide the commission with more personnel to study the possibility of ordering deaconesses.

    Francis also advanced that he will provide the commission with more personnel to study the possibility of ordering deaconesses. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 October 2019
Opinion

The decision was made during the closing of the synod, an assembly of bishops held in the Vatican since the beginning of October.

Pope Francis will reopen a commission to study the possibility of allowing women to serve as deaconesses in the Catholic Church as well as the possibility that certain married men of that region become priests,  the Vatican Press Office informed Saturday.

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The decision was made during the closing of the synod, an assembly of bishops held in the Vatican since the beginning of October, where they discussed the protection of the environment in the Amazon and about the indigenous communities that live there.

The Supreme Pontiff has spoken about the possibility that the commission on the female diaconate will be made up of "new members" and assured that the role of women in Church decisions must go "beyond the functional," but not yet it has been "taken into account." The original working group was created by Francisco in 2016 but never reached a consensus.

With regard to priestly celibacy - the most controversial point of the meeting - the final document proposes "establishing criteria and provisions" to order priests men respected and accepted by their communities, being able to have "legitimately constituted and stable family", in the most remote areas of the Amazon.

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that the last point was voted in favor by 128 members and against by 41. A low approval with respect to the rest of the proposals, but sufficient so that the Pope must now study his approval in the apostolic exhortation he will write before the end of the year.

Francis also advanced that he will provide the commission with more personnel to study the possibility of ordering deaconesses. The commission was created in 2016 and after two years of study came to a standstill on what was the role or if there were so-called deaconesses in the early years of Christianity.

During this synod, the need to give greater relevance to women in the Church was widely addressed, since in the Amazonian communities they are essential for functioning, as all participants recognized. The pope said he "picks up the glove" of being heard that the women threw at him during the synod.

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