Pope Francis has declined a controversial proposal that would have allowed for the regular ordination of some married men as priests.
A summit of bishops back in October recommended to Pope Francis allowing the ordination of married men in the Amazon region as a way of dealing with a shortage of priests there, as The New York Times reported. It was a potentially revolutionary proposal, as The Wall Street Journal notes that if approved, it "would have been the first time in almost a thousand years that the Roman Catholic Church routinely ordained married men as priests."
Pope Francis, however, released a papal document in response to the bishops on Wednesday that ignored the proposal, CNN reports. The editorial director of the Vatican's communications office told the Journal that Francis, "after praying and reflecting, has decided to respond not by foreseeing changes or further possibilities of exceptions (to priestly celibacy) from those already provided for."
The original proposal drew a backlash from conservatives in the church, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in a move seen as undercutting Francis' upcoming decision recently co-authored a book that argues for the necessity of celibacy among priests. Benedict later asked for his name to be taken off the book.
CNN reports Francis' document "offers few, if any, pragmatic changes for the church," while the Times writes that his decision "raised the question of whether Francis' promotion of discussing once-taboo issues is resulting in a pontificate that is largely talk."
More stories from theweek.com
Hope Hicks is returning to the White House
A Bernie Sanders presidency would be remarkably familiar
In Twitter rampage, Trump attacks federal judge set to sentence Roger Stone