As the meeting of Catholic bishops enters its third and final week, more than 250 Vatican clerics from around the world are discussing a controversial topic that dominates the agenda of the future meeting of the Church in the Amazon in Latin America.
It is a matter of celibacy or "priestly celibacy" or whether married men should be allowed to be priests in the Catholic Church.
The meeting will continue in the Vatican until October 27. Other items on the agenda are climate change, immigration, proselytizing, and persecution of indigenous peoples. Pope Francisco (Latin America) opened the meeting by blaming the devastating "interests" that led to fires in the Amazon.
Some Vatican bishops are pushing to consider the possibility of allowing older married men to work as priests in the remote Amazon basin, due to a shortage of clerics in the region, where there is only one priest for every 10,000 Catholics.
Latin American bishops defended the idea in an attempt to make up for the shortage of priests in the region, and it is estimated that at least 85% of Amazonian villages are unable to hold weekly mass due to this shortage in a region where some Christians see the priest only once a year.
Covering the agenda of the Vatican Summit, The Economist said the decision to appoint men married to the Amazon as priests - although it may seem linked to certain exceptional circumstances - sets a precedent for the entire church. This is partly because Amazon's problems reflect a broader challenge facing the Catholic Church in most parts of the world. The Catholic Church has a problem with the number of priests and priests and the "Amazon solution" may be implemented elsewhere as well.
Pope blames devastating "interests" that led to Amazon fires (Reuters)
Marriage in church
Although no official doctrine prohibits Catholic priests from marrying, it has been effectively banned since the 11th century, and the requirement of "celibacy" was established by the church including ensuring that in the event of death any property belonged to the church rather than to the family of the individual.
The idea of allowing married priests to serve has sparked a heated debate among Catholic believers. While some Catholics welcome the idea, conservative views in the church oppose the idea. .
Within the Catholic Church, "celibacy" is emphasized for all clergy in the Latin Church except for deacons (the deacon is the servant of the church or the priest's aide in the performance of religious services, a rank which is the lowest of the three priestly orders in the church), although exceptions are sometimes accepted Few to accept married clergy converted from other churches to Catholicism.
But in February it was revealed that Catholic policy of celibacy had not always been implemented throughout history, and the Vatican secretly issued rules to protect the religious status of Catholic clergy who violated their pledge, including those who had children through marriage.
Some Catholic clergy who violated their pledge to celibate retained their religious status after their secret marriage, although this is publicly forbidden for clergy who did not convert from Anglican and Protestant churches to Catholicism, while the Eastern Orthodox Church prohibits marriage to its priests as well.
The Catholic Church law states that the clergy are committed to celibacy and isolation "for the kingdom of heaven" and to be able to "devote themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity."Celibacy and sexual behavior
The debate comes at a time when the Catholic Church is in the midst of a global crisis stemming from the revelation of widespread sexual misconduct by clergy. In February, the Vatican held a conference to discuss sexual assaults in which some members of the Catholic Church are accused.
In a recent letter to US bishops, Pope Francesco called for a "change of mentality" to restore the credibility lost by the Catholic Church after nearly 20 years of procrastination, manipulation and half-ways to address priestly sexual abuse.
The Pope stressed at the end of the conference that the Catholic Church will spare no effort to bring the perpetrators to justice, and will not cover up or underestimate the seriousness of these violations, similar to sexual abuse of minors in the sacrifice of children in pagan rites.