A Vatican document has revealed that the Church is open to giving women some “type of official ministry” in order to compensate for a severe lack of priests in the Amazon.
According to CNN, the document was prepared for a meeting of Catholic bishops that is due to be held in October 2019. The meeting, which was called by Pope Francis, will focus on devising solutions for the shortage of priests in the Amazon basin, a vast territory that spans approximately three million square miles.
“One of the main points to be heard is the cry of thousands of communities deprived of the Sunday Eucharist for long periods of time,” the document says, adding that the Church should not be afraid to make “daring proposals” to remedy the situation.
One such proposal is identifying the “type of official ministry that can be conferred on women, taking into account the central role which women play today in the Amazonian Church,” the document states, according to Reuters. The document asserts that such a move is “necessary,” but does not elaborate further.
Ordination for women seems unlikely to happen in the future; Pope Francis has been clear in confirming the Church’s ban on women priests.
Pope Francis has, however, expressed openness to the possibility of ordaining older married men, who are known as “viri probati,” or “men of proven character.” The 2019 meeting is expected to discuss this as a solution to the shortage of priests in the Amazon.