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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.

  • Catholic deacons are men who've been ordained to conduct some of the same roles as priests, per the Catholic Spirit. Francis has said he's against ordaining female priests.
  • Those strongly for and against female priests in the Catholic Church see a female deaconate as a means to enabling a review of introducing women as priests, per the New York Times and the National Catholic Reporter.

The big picture: During the final day of the three-week assembly of the South American bishops, the proposal on married men in the Amazon region being ordained priests passed by 128 votes to 41, while 137 of those voting backed the reopening of a commission to examine women's history, including female deacons, and 30 were against it, per the National Catholic Reporter.

What he's saying: The Vatican News reports that Francis said "priests, lay people, men and women religious, and permanent deacons can all contribute to strengthening the proclamation of the Gospel" and that "greater creativity" was needed in the application of "new ministries. ... This includes studying the role of women and permanent deacons in the early Church."

  • The National Catholic Reporter notes that Francis said after the vote concerning female deacons, "I am going to take up the challenge … that you have put forward, that women be heard."

Go deeper: Pope Francis calls on Catholic Church to support women's rights

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: The 72-year-old's arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

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