Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the the end of Palm Sunday Mass on March 29, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

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Catholic Church Considers Letting Married Men Be Priests

Mainly to ease the Brazilian Amazon clergy shortage.

Leaders of the Catholic church in the vast Brazilian Amazon basin are considering whether the church should let married men become priests in certain cases. The issue is probably going to be discussed at a gathering of bishops Pope Francis has called for next year about the church in the Amazon. The Vatican is currently dealing with a shortage of clergy to serve isolated communities in the region, as well as a growing challenge from evangelical Protestantism, which allows married ministers, writes The Wall Street Journal. Pope Francis’s predecessors have rejected the idea of married priests, but the current Pope has said the “door is always open” to the idea. João Souza da Silva, who lives in the remote Brazilian town of Tabatinga, think it would make it easier to serve people in communities around the Amazon, where a priest usually only visits two or three times a year. Around the world, the ratio of Catholics to priests has risen sharply in recent decades, to 3,100-to-1 in 2015 from 1,900-to-1 in 1980, according to WSJ. Permanent deacons, which are men who are not preparing to be priests, are typically married men, and they can pick up the slack in some parts of the world. But deacons cannot celebrate Mass or hear confessions.

Read the full story at The Wall Street Journal