Sep 30, 2019

Pope Francis meets with Jesuit criticized for LGBTQ outreach

Pope Francis. Photo: Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Monday privately met with American Jesuit Rev. James Martin, who has been criticized by conservative U.S. Catholics for advocating for members of the LGBT community, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: While most of the pope's private meetings are kept confidential, the Vatican noted the conference with the Martin on a list of the pope’s daily activities.

The big picture: Martin, who authored “Building a Bridge,” a book arguing that the LGBT community feels unwelcome in the church and that the church should reach out to members of LGBT community, has in the past been disinvited to Catholic seminaries because of his advocacy.

Between the lines: "Official church teaching calls for gay men and lesbians to be respected and loved, but considers homosexual activity 'intrinsically disordered,'" per the AP.

Go deeper: Pope Francis denounces countries that sell weapons but deny refugees

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Pope opens debate on allowing married Catholic priests in Amazon region

Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Sunday formally opened a 3-week Vatican meeting of bishops that will debate whether the Catholic Church should allow married men in South America's Amazon region to be ordained, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: A change to the Church's 1,000-year-old requirement of celibacy for priests could help fill a shortage of priests in the Amazon. Critics say it would "undermine the distinctive character of the priesthood," per WSJ.

Go deeperArrowOct 6, 2019

Pope weighs allowing female deacons and married priests in Amazon region

Pope Francis talks to bishops at the end of the closing session of the Synod on the Pan-Amazon region, Oct. 26, Vatican City. Photo: Alessandra Benedetti-Corbis/Corbis

Pope Francis announced that a study into ordaining female deacons would be reopened after a Vatican meeting of bishops from the Amazon voted for the move and to allow the ordination of married men as priests in the region, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The overhaul of centuries of Catholic teachings on priests' celibacy and women's role in the church would address the issue of a priest shortage in the Amazon region, but many traditional conservatives are against such moves.

Go deeperArrowOct 27, 2019

Hundreds of accused priests get no oversight

Photo: AP

There has been "little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement" over the nearly 1,700 priests and clergy members credibly accused of child sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Church, according to an AP investigation.

Why it matters: Since leaving the church, "dozens have committed crimes, including sexual assault and possessing child pornography," per AP.

Go deeperArrowOct 4, 2019