By Melissa Butz
The Amazon summit is over, but there’s still controversy. The bishops at the Synod voted overwhelmingly to recommend that married men be ordained priests, but they stopped short of doing the same for women deacons.
Married men as priests, a group to study an Amazonian Rite and re-instituting a commission to study the possibility of women as deacons are just three of 120 points published in the final document from the Amazon Synod.
The conclusions were voted on point-by-point by 181 voting Synod fathers, most coming from the Amazon region.
The proposal on married priests received widespread backing with 128 of the Synod fathers voting in favor with only 41 against.
On the topic of ordaining women as deacons, the summit decided against that for now. Instead, they recommend that the rights of women be better protected and greater roles for female leadership in the Church be explored.
Pope Francis said he will reopen a 2016 commission to study the issue of women deacons and how females may have other opportunities to serve the Church.
“I accept the request to call back the commission, or to open it with new members to continue studying the permanent diaconate in the primitive Church,” he said.
The final document of the summit does endorse an Amazonian Rite, which incorporates local traditions of the rainforest into the Church’s liturgy, which also still needs to be studied further.
Now the Holy Father is creating a new commission in the Vatican department responsible for promoting integral human development. The commission will be exploring how to include the culture and symbols of the Amazon’s indigenous.
Defense of life and land, cultural conversion, pastoral and youth ministries and integral conversion are also main parts of the final document, which Pope Francis stressed throughout the Synod as needing to be guided by the Holy Spirit.
While this document was drawn from votes and suggestions from inside the synod hall, Pope Francis has said he would like to write an apostolic exhortation on his impressions and ideas from the Amazon Synod. His intention is for it to be ready before the end of the year.