Vatican City, Vatican
Married priests: In a controversial move likely to outrage traditionalists, Pope Francis has floated the idea of allowing married men in the Amazon region of Brazil to become priests – overturning centuries of Roman Catholic doctrine. According to Italian media, citing Vatican sources, the pontiff has requested that a debate on the issue be put onto the agenda of a synod in Rome in 2019, opening up the issue for a global synod due to be held in Australia in 2020. A partial lifting of the requirement for priestly celibacy has been suggested by a Brazilian cardinal, Cláudio Hummes, who has warned that a desperate shortage of priests in the Amazon has resulted in Catholicism being displaced by evangelical and pagan groups. Francis said earlier this year that the Church should consider allowing married priests in specific circumstances.