The Catholic bishops approved a proposal on Saturday 26th October 2019 that now allows some married men to be ordained as priests in the Amazon region. The proposal was submitted and it must be approved by Pope Francis. This would be a historic change to the catholic church’s centuries-old tradition of unmarried priests.
This new proposal has been however passed by a vote of 128 to 41 and it applies only to some churches in the Amazon region that are experiencing a shortage of priests. The region it applies to include parts of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.
This proposal, known as “viri probati,” refers to older Catholic men, who have stable families and are highly respected and regarded in their communities and who are already ordained as deacons in the church. It was further explained that the proposal which now allows married men to become priests is not in any way the same thing as allowing priests to get married. So, therefore, the change would not affect the rule of celibacy for Catholic priests, who are not allowed to get married as the rule of celibacy still stands firm.
However, Pope Francis must approve the proposal for the proposal to take effect and he has also stated that it is something he hopes to respond to by the end of the year as he needs proper brainstorming and guidance before making any hasty decision.