Pope Francis has reportedly requested married men in Brazil are to be allowed to become priests in a controversial move likely to prompt a huge backlash from the Catholic Church.
It’s reported the request will be discussed and a vote by bishops in the country ‘could now vote on the issue’.
Proposals suggesting the move were raised by Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the President of the Episcopal Commission for the Amazon, who stated there is just ‘one priest for every 10,000 Catholics’ in the region.
If the vote is successful, married Catholic men, who are known as viri probati, will be allowed to become priests, however current priests won’t be able to marry.
The Independent say Catholicism in the region has seen its ‘influence wane’ due to evangelical churches being set up.
Pope Francis raised the prospect of lifting the celibacy rule in March, when he said:
We must consider if viri probati is a possibility. Then we must determine what tasks they can perform, for example, in remote communities.
Dear friends, the world needs saints and we are all called to holiness without exception. Don’t be afraid!
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 1, 2017
The Independent say it’s thought, if successful, the pilot project could be extended to other parts of the world, including Africa.
However, the move is likely to anger conservatives in the church, who are already furious about the pontiff’s decision to allow divorced people who re-marry to receive communion if their priests or local bishop approve.
The Pope has also said the principle of celibacy for priests is a discipline, rather than a dogma.
Those in the eastern rite Catholic Church are allowed to be married, as are married Anglican priests who convert to the religion.
Back in September, there was cause of concern for the Pope after he was seen sporting a black eye during a visit to South America.
Pope Francis was seen with blood on his robes as well as a nasty bruise and cut on his left eye during his visit to Cartagena, which left him looking like he did ten rounds with Mike Tyson before getting his holy lights turned out.
It was however caused by some impromptu braking from the world famous popemobile.
TV footage showed the leader of the Roman Catholic Church colliding face first into the protective Plexiglas when his famous mode of transport came to a sudden halt.
Many a celeb would cancel a public appearance after such a gaff, but this is Pope Francis – after all, it’s his job to forgive these kinds of transgressions, despite no one being a fault – well maybe the driver could do with some forgiveness?
After recovering from the minor incident he was still all smiles – a spokesman for the Vatican assured everyone he was fine, with the pope even joking he’d been ‘punched in the face’.
In their statement they said:
The pope is alright. Ice was put on it and he was treated.
He will continue the schedule for his visit with no changes.
The incident occurred on the last day of his tour of Colombia where he called for a peaceful resolution to the ‘grave crisis’ in Venezuela where economic and political chaos has taken numerous victims.
125 people died from clashes with security forces at anti-government protests between April to July in Venezuela.