Over the next three weeks, some 260 participants will talk about climate change, migration, and evangelism. But one topic has dominated the headlines: whether married men will be allowed to become priests.
One of the items on the working document – the instrumentum laboris – is the suggestion that in remote parts of the Amazon, older, married, men should be ordained.
They would need to be men who are particularly well-respected and, according to the document, they would preferably come from the indigenous communities where they intend to work.
South American bishops have advocated for this in an effort to address the shortage of priests in the region.
Only priests can consecrate the Eucharist, which is a key part of Mass. It is estimated that at least 85% of villages in the Amazon are unable to celebrate Mass every week as a result of this shortage and some only see a priest once a year.